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Missed Fists: Ranking the best knockouts from K-1 K’FESTA 3

Eder Lopes falls after a hard punch from Kimura Minoru at K-1 World GP 2020 Japan: K’FESTA 3 in Saitama, Japan, on March 22, 2020
@Jolassanda1, 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.

At the moment, there are almost no sports events going on around the world, but believe it or not K-1 went through with it’s 2020 Grand Prix show this past Sunday with 6,500 people in attendance despite objections from the governor of Saitama (you can read more about the situation and the reported precautions taken here).

Whether or not you believe that the show must go on as usual, go on it did in this instance, and there were so many awe-inspiring KOs that we did the only reasonable thing one can do in this situation: Rank ‘em.

K-1 World GP 2020 Japan: K’FESTA 3

1. Kimura Minoru vs. Eder Lopes

JM: This is just a picture perfect right hand. Lands as perfectly as can be and the KO fall is pristine. The body balances almost upright for a split-second before gravity takes over. Even on a non-corona week, this KO would still have a good chance of being the best of the week.

AL: Can you say, “off-switch?”

The way Lopes’s head bounces against that bottom rope, that is scary. Minoru had himself a day, KO’ing all three of his opponents to win the lightweight grand prix tournament.

2. Kana vs. Gloria Peritore

JM: My favorite thing about this KO is that all the setup shots were to the body and legs. Kana rips a couple into the ribs of Peritore and even chops away at the legs and Peritore isn’t even thinking about keeping her guard high after separating from the plum. Turns out, not protecting your chin is a mistake and Kana tricked her into it.

AL: You can see Peritore is just eating these punches cleanly and it feels like it’s only a matter of time until one lands that puts her down for the count. Kana fires that last one from the hip. That’s a wrap for Peritore. Really, Minoru and Kana should be 1a and 1b this week, these knockouts are that good.

3. Hikaru Hasumi vs. Hisaki Higashimoto

JM: This is a fun one because Hasumi has Higashimoto clearly on the back foot and he makes no bones about his intentions: he just comes in swinging hooks until one of them gets the job done. Higashimoto might as well have been a heavy bag.

AL: Mid-flurry knockouts are the best. The possibilities seem endless… or they do until one of the fighters is literally ended. If you’re Higashimoto here, you probably don’t think the exchange is going all too badly for you and in another reality maybe he’s the one who lands the finishing shot; in this one, it’s all Hasumi.

What a show these fighters put on, can we make Hasumi’s KO 1c now?

4. Rira vs. Kyoken Jin

JM: It’s a rarity that you’d see a head kick KO this far down the list of best KOs of the week but such was the nature of K’FESTA. Thank you K-1, for your reckless insistence on having people fight during a global pandemic. And thank you Kyoken Jin for your sacrifice in getting Toed the F out.

AL: Like Kana’s KO, this is an accumulation of blows capped off by a whopper of a foot to the chin. Jin’s head is just getting batted around like a ball of yarn here and if the kick didn’t do it, Rira would probably have floored him with an uppercut or a hook instead.

The instant zoom on Jin sprawled out in the corner is just mean.

5. Hideaki Yamazaki vs. Hikaru Terashima

JM: That’s a 12-punch Tekken-style obliteration right there. Poor Terashima was clearly overmatched against Yamazaki who apparently could not miss with his punches. Seriously, that man was laser-sighted and it was awesome.

AL: There is no escape.

Fighters like Donald Cerrone, Georges St-Pierre, and Darren Till, among others, have talked openly about being terrified in the moments before entering a fight and I thought of that while watching Terashima turn his back here. I realize he’s just getting caught at a bad angle, but at a glance it seemed like he was literally turning tail to run away from Yamazaki. Even the toughest pro fighters, when facing heat like this, still have the natural instinct to get as far away from the fire as possible.

And that’s how we ended up with this week’s Humpty Dumpty award winner.

6. Yasuhiro Kido vs. Milan Pales

JM: Upon reconsidering, I feel we may have short-changed this KO somewhat. It’s a head kick knockout with a pseudo-Flair Flop. The fact that it’s not a clean KO hurts it a tad but still, feels strange to see this sixth.

AL: Let me put it this way, if Kido is reading this and takes umbrage with the ranking, not only would I not argue with him, I’d bow down apologize for offering such an insult in the first place.

7. Takeru vs. Petchdam Petchkiatpetch

JM: If you had told me coming into this week that Takeru would have the least impressive KO of the week, I’d have thought the quarantine was making you crazy. It really was a violent week for K-1.

AL: It’s only right that Takeru, the biggest name on the card, step aside for a moment to let his fellow kickboxers shine. Then again, it’s not like he didn’t leave his own mark (just ask Petchdam). The accuracy on this flurry is stunning and Takeru’s terrifying reputation remains untarnished.

Honorable Mention

Taio Asahisa vs. Kenta Hayashi

Why isn’t this on the list? Believe it or not, Hayashi actually got up from this.

Asahisa went on to win a decision, in no small part to this brilliant strike, I’m certain.

JM: How that man got up from that is beyond me and it’s a real tragedy because if he had not, that is no question the best KO of the week, and front runner for best KO of the year. Nothing but respect for Hayashi and his adamantium chin.


Who had the best knockout from K-1 K’FESTA 3?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Kimura Minoru
    (58 votes)
  • 19%
    (29 votes)
  • 5%
    Hikaru Hasumi
    (8 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Hideaki Yamazaki
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Yasuhiro Kido
    (6 votes)
  • 21%
    (32 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now

Ramis Teregulov vs. Mikhail Sarbashev
Yan Shipilov vs. Ivan Aratskiy
Ramis Teregulov vs. Yan Shipilov
Umar Kunakbiev vs. Khalil Khalilzade
Shamil Magomedov vs. Nikita Kazantsev
Jahongir Saidzhamolov vs. Nikita Podkovalnikov
Yuriy Maslov vs. Nikita Milokhov

AL: If I told you MMA was still happening somewhere in the world, you’d probably be surprised; if I told you it was still happening in Russia, you’d probably be less surprised.

Gorilla Fighting Championship 25 took place in Samara, Russia, last Saturday, and there were plenty of finishes even if the quality of the matchmaking left a lot to be desired.

First up, Ramis Teregulov beat up Mikhail Sarbashev to drop Sarbashev’s record to 1-8.

JM: Going from the speedy technical brilliance of K-1 to… that is a real let down. But, in the immortal words of Count Adamar “no style whatsoever, but neither has an anvil.”

AL: On the other side of the heavyweight tournament, Yan Shipilov improved to 2-0 with this bullying kimura of Ivan Aratskiy.

And I do mean bullying. If you thought the last clip was a mismatch, Aratskiy fell to 0-15 (!) following this loss. He has never made it out of the first round.

JM: Oh, a submission! I forgot those things existed.

AL: In the finals, it was all Teregulov as he once again utilized his K-1 level striking to take Shipilov out in just 30 seconds.

JM: Only Gorilla Fight Championship would think that during this dearth of sporting events, what we need are heavyweight fights. Can we go back and watch Takeru’s 87-punch combination again?

AL: You will watch your Russian MMA and you will like it!

Or at least you’ll like this wicked KO by Umar Kunakbiev.

JM: That’s better. That KO is eerily similar to when Nick Diaz knocked out Robbie Lawler with a jab at UFC 47. I know this is technically not a jab because it’s his power hand but since he stepped in with a leg kick, the end result is pretty damn similar. Hope Khalilzade is okay because he seemed to wear that one really rough.

AL: That looked like a harmless bop, but it was right on the button. There was really nothing the ref could do to prevent that fall, but imagine if he’d managed to pull off a muay Thai ref diving catch to save Khalilzade from face-planting. Alas.

JM: Man, credit to Kazantsev, he tried his level best to fight that one off. I honestly thought he was out the first time his legs stopped moving but he held onto consciousness another five or six seconds after that.

AL: #NeverTap, apparently.

AL: This was Maslov’s fourth pro bout, so you can tell he doesn’t give a damn about being patient or settling for control. No, once he found himself in top position, he was looking for any opening to throw and he didn’t stop until Milokhov was nearly limp.

JM: That’s how you’re supposed to ground-and-pound. Turtle position is a fully defensive position and far too often we see fighters on top try to hold it for fear of the fighter rolling into guard. Maslov’s plan of just smashing the hell out of the dude before that can happen is much better.

AL: I hate to backseat fight, but you gotta check those kicks my guy!

JM: But leg kicks don’t win fights, AK!

AL: GFC 25 is available for free replay on YouTube and for those of you really jonesing for free combat sports action, you can also check out Fair Fight XI, which also took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Saturday, and the bouts are also available on YouTube.

Stay safe out there, everyone.

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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