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Missed Fists: Meet 6-foot-6 featherweight kickboxer Savio Vinicius, more

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Celso Mao de Pedra stands face-to-face (pretty much) with Savio Vinicius at Favela Kombat 31 on April 13, 2019, in Rio de Janeiro
@Jolassanda, Twitter

(Note: An earlier edition of this story referred to kickboxer Savio Vinicius as a “6-foot-6 welterweight.” In actuality, he weighed in at 66.6 kg, which would put him in the FEATHERWEIGHT class. MMA Fighting apologizes for the error.)

Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where we shine a light on fights from across the globe that may have been overlooked in these hectic times where it seems like there’s an MMA show every other day.

You know, we in the combat sports community are sometimes accused of favoring hype and spectacle and “freak show fights” over genuine competition and merit and frankly, I find those kinds of baseless comments deeply offensive. And I would hope that our appreciation of inspirational efforts like those we saw in the two headlining bouts at UFC 236 is evidence that we care just as much about substance as we do style.

With that said, let’s kick this week off with a kickboxing match between 6-foot-6 featherweight Savio Vinicius and 43-year-old Celso Mao de Pedra at something Favela Kombat 31 in Rio de Janeiro this past Saturday.

Celso Mao de Pedra vs. Savio Vinicius

AL: As the Portuguese would say, “That is one tall motherf*cker.”

JM: See, parents, I’ve always told you this is an educational column.

That dude looks like Mike Teevee after they had to put him in the taffy puller to get him stretched out again. He looks like Mr. Fantastic lost the ability to recompose himself into normal dimensions. But mostly what he looks like is a guy who needs to put on muscle and compete in a proper weight class. 6-foot-6 is heavyweight height. That cannot be healthy.

AL: If this fight is any indication, he also suffers from Struveitis. Mao de Pedra has no problem getting in on the taller Vinicius and bullying him throughout their five-round fight. It still makes for a fun visual as these types of matchups tend to do.

But you are correct, there is nothing healthy about what Vinicius is doing, both in terms of diet and career choice.

If readers want to check out the matchup for themselves, they can catch the whole event on Facebook (Mao de Pedra vs. Vinicius begins around the 1:28:00 mark).

Malcolm Gordon vs. Yoni Sherbatov

A couple of days before we saw the two best five-round fights of the year, Malcolm Gordon and Yoni Sherbatov put on one of the best two-minute fights of the year at TKO 47 in Montreal.

Sherbatov, a native of Moscow who fights out of Laval, Quebec, has long been on the cusp of breaking through to the bigger stages of MMA and he’s had success fighting in Russia as well as an Ultimate Fighter tryout. Nobody would have been surprised if Sherbatov dethroned the defending TKO flyweight champion and it looked like he was going to smoke Gordon early in this one. But Gordon had other plans.

JM: Hell of an effort by Gordon there. That was a wild affair (for all of the time that it lasted) and then Gordon is just like, “Nah, we’re done here.”

This is why Fight Pass is still worth your money. I know the UFC is transitioning over most of the live stuff to ESPN+ with the new deal, but Fight Pass still has one heck of a library and a ton of great smaller shows in one easy to use place. I’ll wach TKO and Alaska FC and Invicta FC all damn day.

Yuto Hokamura vs. Toshinori Tsunemura
Yojiro Uchimura vs. Shinsuke Kamei
Kenta Takagi vs. Kazuma Maruyama

Speaking of great things to watch on Fight Pass, Pancrase is still chugging along, making great fights and dope highlights happen. For instance.

That murder alone is worth $10.

AL: That’s bantamweight contender Yuto Hokamura taking out Toshinori Tsunemura with an absolute thunderclap of a head kick. Records on Hokamura are all over the place, but according to @VonPreux, this is his 12th first-round finish in 15 wins.

Gotta give some credit to the ref too for not giving up on the takedown and stopping Hokamura from sending Tsunemura to the cemetery and himself to prison.

Pancrase 304, which took place in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, also featured maybe the best three-round fight of the weekend, an absolute brawl between featherweights Yojiro Uchimura and Shinsuke Kamei.

I don’t know if I’d quite put this one up there with the Senzo Ikeda vs. Yuya Wakamatsu slugfest from last February, but regardless, Pancrase continues to bring it.

JM: I love how we have to keep qualifying fights with “best three-round” or “best two-minute” because the UFC 236 co-main event was one of the five best fights of all time and there’s no way we’re beating that on the same weekend. By the way, did I mention that I sat cageside for that one? My heart is still pounding.

AL: You’ve mentioned it once or twice.

JM: Anywho, this is fight is awesome and Kamei goes for a rolling kneebar which is something we didn’t see from Adesanya-Gastelum so, you know, this fight has its own charms.

AL: We close out this round of Pancrase clips with a fight that is unlikely to have any sort of title implications, as welterweights Kenta Takagi (16-16, 1 NC) and Kazuma Maruyama (9-5) faced off.

Well, faced off before Maruyama was left facedown.

JM: That’s just a picture perfect left hand. Square to the jaw as Maruyama left his chin up and exposed. I’m always partial to a 180 faceplant KO and good for Takagi to get over that .500 batting average hump!

Shan Tuk vs. Petchubon

Now let’s talk about one of my favorite things: rules I think should be changed in MMA because it’s the obviously correct thing to do. I’ve mentioned before that banning headbutts is booty and here’s why.

Torpedoing your skull into someone’s chin is every bit as good a way to finish as fight as any other technique. Plus then we don’t have to worry about heads clashing. Standing headbutts, make them legal!

AL: The messed up thing is that because this happened at lethwei, probably one of the five most dangerous activities in the world, it was 100 percent legal. Hard to argue against its use here too as it’s not like Shan Tuk just throws it randomly. He actually lands his skull on Petchubon’s jaw with terrifying accuracy. It’s almost like a pinpoint counter-headbutt, which should not be a thing.

Now imagine Tito Ortiz or Antonio Silva aiming their melons at someone. Good heavens.

JM: Tito would still be undefeated. Jon Jones would have nothing on him.

The full Siam Kard Chuek lethwei event is available for replay on their Facebook page.

Nikita Podkovalnikov vs. Said Samadov
Dinislam Kamavov vs. Aman Abdraymov

AL: Let’s round back to MMA, first by once again appreciating the inimitable stage presence of Russian announcer Alexander Zagorsky, this time introduced by the littlest Bruce Buffer:

This took place at Battle on Volga 10 in Tolyatti, Russia, on Sunday, a show which featured a few memorable finishes including this absolute mauling of Said Samadov by Nikita Podkovalnikov:

Look at those follow-up punches and Samadov going full John Matua on the ground.

JM: That was awesome. I know it was barely even a fight but Samadov looked sharp with that left hand until he got hit with the check hook. Even then I thought he was gonna be fine and had just been buzzed, but Podkovalnikov’s follow up left hand was money. That’s gotta be the best 14-second fight of the weekend.

AL: Top-3 at least.

Around the 2:27:45 mark of the show, which is available for replay on YouTube, we have Dinislam Kamavov finishing off a dominant win over Aman Abdraymov with some sort of triangle variation after beating him up in the crucifix position for what felt like 20 straight minutes.

No clip was available unfortunately, but here’s a screengrab for our readers to peruse:

MMA63RU, YouTube

JM: That looks like an inverted triangle finish to me. I can’t tell if Abdraymov’s leg flailing is tapping or desperation?

AL: Definitely seems like he was trying to signal that he wanted out, a la Tim Elliott using his feet to submit to Joseph Benavidez. Wow… that sounded unintentionally kinky.

Moving on.

Martin Nguyen vs. Narantungalag Jadambaa
Joshua Pacio vs. Yosuke Saruta

I wrote about two title fight finishes from ONE Championship’s most recent show last Friday in Manila, Philippines, but would love to get your thoughts on “Who Finished It Better?”

Was it 155-pound champ Martin Nguyen crushing Narantungalag Jadambaa with a flying knee...

… or Joshua Pacio regaining his 125-pound belt by Marlon Moraes-ing Yosuke Saruta?

JM: Oooooooo. This is a a really good one.

Nguyen’s KO gets point’s for being a flying knee and for landing cleanly, but loses some style by not all the way killing Jadambaa. Conversely, Pacio gets full marks for blowing up Saruta, but loses points because he was throwing a kick and kneed Saruta instead.

I think I have to give the edge to Nguyen because a flying knee is cooler than a head kick-knee and though Saruta drops hard, he kinda moves around there at the end, indicating he still had some brain cells left.

Nguyen by decision!


Who Finished It Better?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Martin Nguyen
    (178 votes)
  • 27%
    Joshua Pacio
    (68 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now

AL: I am stunned that you did not use that as an opportunity to mention the two great decisions you saw up-close-and-personal on Saturday.

JM: Well now that you mention it, did you know that I was cageside for UFC 236…

AL: Dammit, I walked right into it!

Joe Riggs vs. Jared Torgeson

And last but not least, we stop off in Great Falls, Montana for a show titled Fusion Fight League: Diesel’s Last Ride (available for replay on FITE TV PPV).

That’s right, we’re talking Joe Riggs.

Billed as Riggs’s last fight in the United States, the 67-fight veteran took on Jared Torgeson in Saturday’s light heavyweight main event, and took care of business with a rear-naked choke in round one.

Riggs, 36, apparently has at least two more fights booked overseas for his retirement tour, but now is as good a time as any to take a moment and reflect on our fondest Riggs memories.

JM: If your answer isn’t “becoming the only winner of Bellator’s Fight Master show and then immediately jumping ship to the UFC” you’re doing it wrong.

A couple of other Riggs career highlights include:

  • Getting a title shot against Matt Hughes only to miss weight and get submitted
  • Handing Herb Dean his first pro MMA loss
  • Having fought both Travis Fulton and Shannon Ritch
  • Getting knocked out by Wesley “Cabbage” Correira

Diesel has had a super weird career.

AL: Being the world’s only official Fight Master is undoubtedly number one, but there is probably a large segment of fans out there who will point to his legendary fight with Nick Diaz on Feb. 4, 2006.

No, I’m not talking about their actual match at UFC 57, that Riggs won by unanimous decision. Rather, I’m referring to their post-fight scuffle at the hospital that Riggs described as such:

“... Riggs said the fighters broke out into a full-out brawl, grappling for control and trading insults as they went. They spilled into nearby rooms, banging into instrument trays, sending flying metal clanging to the floor. Riggs’ IV had been knocked out and blood was spraying everywhere like a bad horror movie.

“‘We were like two pit bulls in a china shop,’ said Riggs. ‘It was one of most crazy things I’ve ever been involved in.’”

Tragically, this was before the advent of cell phone cameras being everywhere, so we’ll never know exactly how that went down.

Truly one of the great lost Missed Fists of our time.

If you know of a recent fight or event that you think may have been overlooked or a promotion that could use some attention, please let us know on Twitter @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee using the hashtag #MissedFists.

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