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.
If you’re a first-time visitor just looking to add to your regular reading list in 2020, one thing we want to make perfectly clear is that while we glorify all kinds of wild techniques and innovative offense in this feature, we also sympathize with the athletes who end up on the wrong end of these highlights.
Keep that in mind when watching our first entry.
Emon Baker vs. Richard Trieu
Frightening slam KO last night at Spar Star Promotions: FN 46 (Amateur show). Emon Baker def. Richard Trieu.— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 12, 2020
Fortunately he was back to his feet a couple mins later. pic.twitter.com/RYctfh3eOk
This was bad. This was real, real bad.
An instant front runner for the scariest slam of the year, this absolute car accident happened in an amateur bout at a Spar Star Promotions show in Commerce, Calif., last Saturday. That’s Emon Baker doing the damage and the unfortunate Richard Trieu getting dumped on every part of the upper body that one can be dumped on.
Baker is coached by Bellator and WEC vet Chad George, and according to a post on George’s Instagram, Trieu was thankfully “OK” afterwards and transported to a hospital.
View this post on Instagram
One of the scariest slam KOs I have ever seen in MMA. Here is the finish from @godspeed16 fight last night. His opponent ended being OK and was transported to the hospital after for check ups. This is the reason you have to have a good school, good coaches and train properly. So many people think they can just get into the sport because it “looks” easy. I hate seeing people get hurt but unfortunately it does come with the territory. Video: @mmaneutral #knockout #ko #wrestling #suplexcity #teamcmma #slam #suplex
Let’s hope that Trieu has a full recovery and that he’s not too shaken up by that awful end to what was his first-ever fight according to Tapology.
Emmanuel Calhoune vs. Mark Eitel
John Pham Tao vs. Jeremy Hudson
Continuing the theme of KOs out of nowhere, here’s Emmanuel Calhoune mashing buttons and nailing Mark Eitel with a wake-up Tiger Knee at Xreme Knockout 48 in Dallas.
An unbelievable flying Knee Knockout at XKO All In @emmanuel_calhoune @antonio_xko @sgroff68 @espnmma @ufcfightpass @foxsportssw #ko #knockout #omg #flyingknee #ufc #allin #xkotvPosted by Xtreme Knockout on Monday, January 13, 2020
This is exactly the kind of finish you’ll only see on the regional scene, because presumably nobody in a major promotion would try this nor would a fighter in a major promotion be caught by this. But this is XKO, not the UFC, and Calhoune was rewarded for his temerity.
It’s also great that he took to social media to campaign as much as possible to get his finish and name out there.
Way to hustle, young man!
Also showing out was 26-year-old bantamweight John Pham Tao.
Want to see another KO from XKO All In? We will keep them coming!! @_johntao @antonio_xko @sgroff68 @ufcfightpass @espnmmaPosted by Xtreme Knockout on Monday, January 13, 2020
That is just raw power, which is always great to see at 135 pounds. Pham scores a 55-second knockout victory to improve to 2-0 as a pro after a winless amateur career.
Gazavat Suleymanov vs. Yibugele
Glenn Sparv vs. Shannon Ritch
Most weeks, this spinning elbow KO by Gazavat Suleymanov from Rebel Fighting Championship 10 in Moscow would have been the lead. It looks like Suleymanov whiffs on a standing lunging elbow from distance—a move with an extraordinarily high degree of difficulty—and then says, “F*ck it, I wanted to land an elbow and I’m going to land an elbow!”
Poor Yibugele never saw it coming. With the win, Suleymanov walked out with the RFC lightweight title around his waist.
From the “Where Are They Now?” department, we have a special appearance from MMA lifer Shannon Ritch!
That’s Ritch making his 150th MMA appearance against Glenn Sparv. That’s also Ritch on the receiving end of one of my favorite submission holds, the always threatening-sounding calf slicer.
Finland’s Sparv picks up his first win of the year after competing less than a month ago. And with Sparv’s help, Ritch is now less than a dozen losses away from hitting the century mark in that dubious column.
Kento Haraguchi vs. Hideki Sasaki
The kickboxing world has been picking up much of the slack as the gears of MMA whir back to life, so we can’t just push it aside now just because the in-cage action is beginning to ramp up once more. The best of the highlights from this past week came from RISE 136 in Tokyo.
Kento Haraguchi landed a gorgeous and varied three-piece combo on Hideki Sasaki to claim a vacant 63-kilogram (approximately 139 pounds) title.
Notice how he executes a head-body-head sequence that would make Marky Mark proud. But these aren’t set-up shots. He clobbers Sasaki upside the head with a clubbing right, disembowels him with a left, and then dusts him with a snapping right.
Forget three-piece and a soda, Haraguchi blasted Sasaki with a famous bowl and a shot of JD.
Thanh Le vs. Ryogo Takahashi
ONE Championship hardly skipped a beat, holding an event in Bangkok last Friday that was primarily a Muay Thai and kickboxing affair. But former LFA standout Thanh Le stole the show, smoking Ryogo Takahashi with a relentless barrage of punches to add to his list of impressive finishes.
ANOTHER KNOCKOUT— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) January 10, 2020
Thanh Le records his third-straight KO since coming to ONE, finishing Ryogo Takahashi with a furious first-round combo!@ThanhLeMMA #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship #ANewTomorrow pic.twitter.com/92sY3r2bCt
I don’t remember exactly why Le was passed over on the Contender Series, but UFC officials have to be kicking themselves for letting him slip through the cracks. He’s one of the hardest hitters at 145 and 155 pounds, just look at his face here:
He is punching with feeling. Yet still, there’s timing and precision behind that raw burst of emotion. Watch that clip and imagine how amazing it would be to see him fight Justin Gaethje sometime. I’m salivating already.
Since we’re in Bangkok anyway, take us out, Stamp!
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Emon Baker’s sensational suplex
Emmanuel Calhoune’s "crouching tiger knee"
Gazavat Suleymanov’s elbow-into-elbow KO
Glenn Sparv slices Shannon Ritch’s calf
Kento Haraguchi’s scintillating three-hit combo
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.