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.
This week’s episode is brought to you by proper dental care: Look after those chompers because you never know when those pearly whites might decide to just fall out of your mouth. But more on that later.
First, let’s take a look at one of the best promotions in North America, the Legacy Fighting Alliance.
Rafael Barbosa vs. Nate Jennerman
Joel Bauman vs. Bobby Downs
JM: I think it’s time we start having the conversation about LFA.
For a while now, LFA has been one of, if not THE, premier feeder league to the bigger shows but I still feel like it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Every single week in this column, something incredibly dope happens at LFA. Usually, many somethings.
Just look at this standing elbow KO of Nate Jennerman from LFA 68 last Friday, courtesy of Rafael Barbosa.
Official Results: Barbosa def. Jennerman via KO at 3:18 into Round 1. pic.twitter.com/fo8qy0Q4cI— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) June 1, 2019
That is awesome and more people should be watching LFA on a regular basis.
AL: As brutal as this standing elbow was, we should warn readers that there are a few more to come this week, each one arguably more vile than the last.
JM: Be still me beating heart.
AL: For now, let’s give Barbosa his props for closing out the show in style. This Brazilian featherweight is just 21 years old and he’s already picked up two wins in LFA to build his record to 12-1. He’s won seven straight, six by finish, so you get the sense that the best is yet to come for him.
This next finish is even uglier as poor Bobby Downs looked to be out on his feet, waiting for the ref to save him before being blasted by a head kick.
Official Results: Bauman def. Downs via KO at 2:48 into Round 1. pic.twitter.com/RENSOOOhUT— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) June 1, 2019
JM: Like I said, usually many somethings.
The right hand that starts the barrage off is excellent and longer than a summer day. That would be impressive enough but then we get the Sean Salmon death kick finisher. LFA continues to bring the heat.
Chalam Paranchai vs. Detsakda Pukongyat
Wanchalong PKSaenchai vs. Puenkon Tor.Surat
AL: Our next standing elbow KO comes to us from a Muay Thai event at Rajadamnern Stadium in Thailand. Full matches are available on YouTube and make sure to check out Lucas Bourdon’s excellent coverage of the three-day extravaganza over on Bloody Elbow.
With that friendly endorsement out of the way, we transition to a decidedly unfriendly move on the part of Chalam Paranchai.
Quite the show today. Chalam with the spear elbow knock out against Detsakda. pic.twitter.com/Qv5t2zW1ZX— Yodsanan (@_Yodsanan) May 30, 2019
JM: As I watch this clip over and over, and try desperately not to cry for how painful it looks, I’m struck by a notion that perhaps this looks so terrifying in part because of the boxing gloves. We see people get deaded every week in this column and I have to assume that head kick KOs would be the most forceful but this spear elbow has me cringing for that poor deceased fool.
Maybe that’s just because it looks worse since Paranchai has perfectly good gloves on and instead hit Pukongyat with a bony murder weapon instead. I don’t know. Much to think about.
AL: The less I think about it, the better I feel. Be okay, Detsakda!
And be okay, Puenkon Tor Surat!
Old man still got it. After being in a bit of a slump in the last 2 years, Wanchalong gets back on track with a huge knock out win over Puenkon Tor Suath. pic.twitter.com/yJJEPuRfez— Yodsanan (@_Yodsanan) May 29, 2019
The former Rajadamnern Fighter of the Year was out to show his mettle last Wednesday, which is to be applauded, but it looked like the first man to go high here was going to win and that turned out to be Wanchalong PKSaenchai.
JM: See! This is what I’m talking about! That shin absolutely cracks Puenkon to the point that consciousness vacates his body like a built-up fart, but my gut reaction is not the same kind of internal terror I felt from the spear elbow. I’m so confused.
Yusaku Nakamura vs. Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai
Mamoru Uoi vs. Kana Hyatt
Erson Yamamoto vs. Tim Eschtruth
Kan Nakamura vs. Itto Nakatake
AL: Which brings us to our standing elbow main event as it were, from Rizin 16, which took place Saturday in Kobe, Japan.
Look, there’s no elegant way to put this: Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai knocked Yusaku Nakamura’s f*cking teeth out.
I know that I am not a good person but I can't stop laughing, poor Nakamura— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 2, 2019
I love hellbows pic.twitter.com/cpUf63nvvN
JM: See! See why the spear elbow makes me so uncomfortable! This man has no teeth now because of it!
this is significant damage so TopNoi should win ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/ujsmIf6EAW— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 2, 2019
AL: My whole face is actually shaking looking at this.
JM: His modeling career is over before it started. He will forever look like a third-grader about to get rich from the tooth fairy. But good on him for having the minerals to gut it out and still win the fight. That is damn impressive. I’m ready to give up just looking at that.
Now onto some less nausea-inducing violence.
You know how when Cody Garbrandt gets tagged he goes full trading hooks mode? That’s what this looked like only it worked out for Mamoru Uoi! Just rifling power hooks and drawing Kana Hyatt into doing the same until Hyatt drops.
AL: Uoi is lovingly known as “Fullswing” for reasons that are obvious. Rizin matched him up with Hyatt a.k.a. “The One Man Riot,” a journeyman who now owns a 16-20 record with 15 of those losses coming by way of knockout or submission here. Everyone knew what the deal was and we’re all better off for it.
And now… what’s this? ANOTHER STANDING ELBOW?!?
Mortal hellbow by Erson Yamamoto :O pic.twitter.com/thbzx82JMd— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 2, 2019
JM: Good lord what is this, the week of the hellbow? This is so unbelievably violent.
And look at that follow up ground-and-pound by Erson Yamamoto! He gets off three jackhammer right hands to the incredibly unconscious Tim Eschtruth before the referee can intervene to prevent a killing. Uncle Kid would be proud.
AL: When paying your respects to the dearly departed, you’re supposed to pour one out at the cemetery, not spill someone’s brains all over the canvas.
And I’m sure he can talk about just how proud he is with Eschtruth now that both reside in the hallowed Halls of Valhalla.
Who Standing Elbow’d It Better?
This poll is closed
Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai
Kan Nakamura separated Nakatake from consciousness in 2R pic.twitter.com/m43ntCdHeu— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 2, 2019
JM: There’s a special place in my heart for those uppercut kicks. Clearly it would have just been a normal head kick but since Itto Nakatake is scrambling around and retreating, Nakamura just adjusts his strike and lands it clean. That takes some real skill to be able to register that opening and connect the shot on the fly like that.
AL: This kind of reminds me of the LFA head kick we talked about, though Nakatake isn’t so much dazed as he is in panic mode. You can see him instinctively ducking his head here to avoid those flaming punches and then WHAM, lights out.
If readers want to check out the rest of Rizin 16, which also included yet another Tenshin Nasukawa highlight, an absurdly malicious finish by Takaki Soya, and Jake Heun doing a wonderful Guardians of the Galaxy-themed entrance, you can watch a replay of the show on FITE TV pay-per-view.
Anderson Goncalves vs. Steve Montgomery
Santos Rivera vs. Humberto Davis
Another nausea-inducing theme this week was fighters having zero chill for their downed opponents, as evidenced by Anderson Goncalves (from Final Fight Championship 37 in Las Vegas on May 30) and Santos Rivera (from Nicaraguan Fighting Championship 49: No Mercy in Managua on May 31).
Here’s Goncalves putting UFC vet Steve Montgomery away with one of the most horrifying hammerfist finishes that I’ve seen in a while.
DEVASTATING KO by Anderson Goncalves! #FFC37Posted by Final Fight Championship on Monday, June 3, 2019
JM: The human body never ceases to amaze me. Look at the way Montgomery’s arm just stays stretched out like he’s reaching for heaven. Goncalves hammerfisted that dude into rigor mortis. I’m left with little choice but to agree with you, that may be the most violent hammer fist KO I’ve seen.
AL: In fairness, this clip you dug up featuring Rivera and Humberto Davis is right up there.
scary moment on NFC— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 1, 2019
brutal GNP KO by Santos Rivera pic.twitter.com/ICa71Gjud1
JM: Rivera lived up to the “No Mercy” part of the show. 21 seconds and he does that. Hell of a way to start your professional career.
AL: Four notable MMA fighters retired this week and I’m not saying it’s because of s*it like we had in Missed Fists this week, but I wouldn’t blame them if it was because of s*it like this.
Kanat Tassybay vs. Mike Gonzalez
Lirim Rufati vs. Jaime Drago
To cleanse the palette, let’s take a look at a couple of finishes that while still impactful, at least have a twinge of levity to them (for those of us not actually in the cage, anyway).
From Ring of Combat 68 (available on UFC Fight Pass) in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last Friday, here’s Kanat Tassybay spinning and not winning, but then winning anyway.
Any thought that this could be an early stoppage?
JM: Good on Tassybay for sticking with the fundamentals: If you wanna win, you got to spin.
Also, you are insane. That stoppage was completely fine. Look at the way Gonzalez’s head bounces off the canvas. He was completely out of it and then that snap brought him back enough to start rolling under. That 360 left hook rattled him and then the follow-up left while Gonzalez was dropping switched him off.
AL: This next stoppage is a no-doubter, though how we got there I’m still figuring that out.
So Liram Rufati is blown up after about three minutes of going all-out for a takedown of Jaime Drago that never comes, but instead of getting punished for it, he throws a Hail Mary punch while completely off-balance and (naturally, because this is MMA) earns a one-shot knockout.
JM: I still don’t even understand what happened here. Did we just see the first ever diving punch KO on a standing fighter? It’s like a Superman punch only, Rufati actually leaves his feet entirely. I did not see this coming and neither did Drago who got folded like a lawn chair.
AL: All these guys trying Superman punches off of the cage and they never knew that the actual secret to generating more power is by slipping off of the mat as you throw. Incredible technique.
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.