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Missed Fists: Shodai Matsuoka caps off 2019 with perfect spin kick KO, more

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Shodai Matsuoka (blue gloves) connects with a spin kick on Taito at K-1 WORLD GP 2019 in Nagoya, Japan, on Dec. 28.
@Grabaka_Hitman, Twitter

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.

Last week was all about celebrating the best of 2019 (which you’ve all already read, of course), so we have some catching up to do this time around. There was a little bit of everything to close out the year, so let’s get rolling.

Shodai Matsuoka vs. Taito
Minoru Kimura vs. Marcel Adeyemi
Fukashi Mizutani vs. Tetsuya Yamato
Kota Nakano vs. Jin Hirayama
Kaito vs. Ho Sung Kim
Takeru vs. Yuki Egawa

It’s a good thing for the rest of the combat sports world that this insane Shodai Matsuoka spinning kick finish happened on Dec. 28, otherwise it’s likely that the next 12 months would be spent chasing this beauty for Best KO of 2020.

Poor Taito here is absolutely frozen after the first kick just misses and he doesn’t see the Sweet Chin Music coming at all. The impact, the whiplash, the fall, it’s just a picture-perfect knockout.

The K-1 World GP 2019 event in Nagoya, Japan, had a ton of great knockouts, including a “Humpty Dumpty” fall that probably should have been in the running for last week’s awards, courtesy of Minoru Kimura.

For anyone who objects to referee stoppages that happen when a fighter is still standing, just check this one out. Yes, Marcel Adeyemi was still somewhat defending himself, but once Kimura’s barrage was over, he just had nothing left and falls face-first to the mat. It’s the cracking left that does it and the two punches that come after are just extra, so really the referee could have stepped in a touch sooner.

There was no stopping Fukashi Mizutani though as he unleashed a Tekken-esque 10-Hit Combo on Tetsuya Yamato.

There’s barely any time for the referee to react here and by the time he does, Mizutani has already hit Yamato with all of the punches.

Next we have Kota Nakano and Jin Harayama reenacting the Condit-Hardy finish:

And then Ho Sung Kim nearly losing his head twice, first from Kaito’s punches and then from taking a nasty fall into the second rope:

All that happened, plus kickboxing standouts Takeru and Yuki Egawa threw down in what was supposed to be a harmless exhibition.

Hey, sometimes you want to get in some light public sparring as a treat for the fans and sometimes you’ve just got to go full Frye-Takayama.

Jeremy Pacatiw vs. Felipe Efrain
Anzor Abdulkhozhaev vs. Rolandy Dy

From Brave CF 33 (available on FITE TV PPV) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 27, we had one of our favorite kinds of fights, a one-rounder where both men leave everything they’ve got in the cage.

Hats off to Jeremy Pacatiw and Felipe Efrain for this magnificent effort:

And hats off also (you can put the same hat back on and take it off again, you don’t need two hats) to Anzor Abdulkhozhaev for picking up a big win over UFC vet Rolando Dy.

This was Abdulkhozhaev’s Brave debut and he’s now 10-1 as a pro. Look for him to keep making waves on the international scene.

Vladislav Korolevskiy vs. Zhasulan Akimzhanov

Over in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Vladislav Korolevskiy had a Christmas Day gift for Zhasulan Akimzhanov, a slick anaconda choke that Akimzhanov probably would have left off of his wish list if he had a choice.

This wasn’t a quick tap-out. You can see Akimzhanov doing all the right things to try and pivot away from the pressure and find an opening to escape, but Korolevskiy is absolutely not giving up until the submission is secured.

You can watch the entirety of Gorilla Fighting Championship 23 on YouTube.

Alexey Makhno vs. Vladimir Kuzminykh
Igor Egorov vs. Vyacheslav Danilov

Fight Nights Global held an event in Moscow on Dec. 28, which showcased a couple of unfortunate squash matches. Case in point, 21-7 Alexey Makhno going up against 2-3 Vladimir Kuzminykh.

The considerably less experienced Kuzminykh just ducks right into a leg to the dome and though it looks like he had the heart to continue, this fight was only going to get worse for him.

I mean, he could have ended up like Vyacheslav Danilov.

Danilov entered this fight with a 2-1 record and left it with a serious headache as Igor Egorov brained him with an exquisitely timed counter-right. The win improved Egorov’s record to 15-8, so say what you want, you can only fight who they put in front of you. And if you get a lame duck opponent, you may as well get a cool highlight out of it.

Fight Night Global bouts are available on the promotion’s YouTube channel (may not be accessible in some regions).

Rodrigo de Moura vs. Davi Costa
Mauricio Freire vs. Aluizio Adario

A hearty cheer for Brazil’s highly influential Jungle Fight promotion, which ran its 100th show on Dec. 28 in Manaus, the first time its held a show there in 14 years. You can read more about the historic occasion in this feature by the esteemed Guilherme Cruz.

And what better way to honor past Jungle Fight stars like Lyoto Machida, Fabricio Werdum, Ronaldo Souza, and Jose Aldo than with a couple of impressive finishes from fighters who could be paving their own way to greatness someday.

Check out Rodrigo de Moura’s relentless pursuit of this armbar against Davi Costa:

It looks wild, but “Muralha” clearly knows what he’s doing as he keeps at least one hand on Costa’s wrist the whole time even as they’re both getting tangled up like a pair of octopi on MDMH. Moura is just 17 years old, so let’s file this finish away in the back of our brains for when he’s signed by a major promotion sometime in 2024.

In a battle between to pro debutants, Mauricio Freire’s first win will officially go down in the books as a rear-naked choke submission, but this baseball bat head kick is what we’ll all remember.


Even if it sounded worse than it was, it certainly looked like Aluizio Adario was more than halfway to The Shadow Realm before Freire pounced on him for the finish.

Chas Dunhour vs. Nate Yoshimura
Yusuke Yachi vs. Hiroto Uesako

Bellator held a couple of events around Christmas and New Year’s (not to mention several of their fighters being involved in RIZIN’s year-end show) and while these major promotions don’t need the shine, there’s at least two finishes that probably didn’t get the recognition they deserved when they happened.

Reaching all the way back to Dec. 21, Bellator 236 in Honolulu, there was only one postliminary fight and anyone who stayed tuned in after Ilima-Lei Macfarlane took care of business in the main event was treated to arguably the best finish of the show.

That’s Chas Dunhour picking up his first pro win with a terrifying Hell-bow on Nate Yoshimura. It may not have made the DAZN broadcast, but you better believe it will be replayed endlessly whenever Dunhour makes his return to the Bellator cage.

A week later, Bellator Japan took place in Saitama and again, it was a fight that took place well after the main event that left the building buzzing.

Yusuke Yachi is one of RIZIN’s most exciting fighters and an excellent choice to be part of the promotion’s eight-fight card that took place AFTER Fedor vs. Rampage. Unfortunately, for those of us in North America, this portion of the show was not broadcast in any way, shape, or form, meaning we missed out on this beautiful PRIDE-style soccer kick KO of Hiroto Uesako.

Yes, that’s legal in RIZIN and no, that is not a nice thing to do to another human being.

ICYMI: Make sure to check out the rest of our coverage of Bellator Japan, RIZIN 20, and the 2019 PFL Championships for more fists you may have missed over the busy holiday season.

Until next time:


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Shodai Matsuoka’s spin kick KO
    (33 votes)
  • 14%
    Jeremy Pacatiw and Felipe Efrain’s slugfest
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Igor Egorov’s pinpoint counter
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Mauricio Freire’s baseball bat head kick
    (2 votes)
  • 28%
    Yusuke Yachi’s soccer kick
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (1 vote)
64 votes total Vote Now

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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