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.
UFC Fight Island is in full swing, but let’s not forget that combat sports shows have been happening overseas for a while now. In the past week, we’ve seen shows in Japan, Poland, Russia, and Mexico, so with plenty to review, let’s jump right to the highlights.
Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Yuuki Kasahara
Kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa hasn’t competed since Rizin’s New Year Eve show, and he made his return on Sunday at a RISE show in Japan. Wonder how the 21-year-old wunderkind is doing?
Tenshin Nasukawas return is a short-lived one, sending Yuki Kasahara to the canvas three times for the first-round stoppage. pic.twitter.com/09U6Qugv6h— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) July 12, 2020
That’s a 90-second TKO. Business as usual, apparently.
Tatsuya Tsubakihara vs. Shoya Matsumoto
Hayato Suzuki vs. Fumiya
While we’re in the kickboxing ring, a tip of the cap to Tatsuya Tsubakihara, who scored one of the year’s best finishes with this incredible right hook-high kick combination that floored Shoya Matsumoto.
Extra points for capping that sequence off with the victory pose. He knew this one was over.
Also at Krush 114, Hayato Suzuki pieced up Fumiya before finishing with a rocking knee.
Note the blink-and-you-missed-it straight right in there that seals the deal. Fumiya thought he was going to walk Suzuki down and got a vicious two-piece for his troubles.
Roman Szymanski vs. Filip Pejic
Michal Pietrzak vs. Kamil Szymuszowski
Sebastian Przybysz vs. Jakub Wiklacz
Mateusz Gamrot vs. Norman Parke
Tenshin wasn’t the only one making a triumphant 2020 return. Everyone’s favorite Polish promotion, Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki, held its first event of the year on Saturday – replay available on FITE TV pay-per-view – in Warsaw, and it was an eventful one, to say the least.
One of the show’s most impressive performances belonged to Roman Szymanski, who displayed the kind of head movement that would make Coach Edmond proud...
… and a legitimately ruthless ground game to finish Filip Pejic.
Szymanski, 27, improved to 13-5 with the win, and his recent losses have only come against top KSW featherweights Salahdine Parnasse and Marcin Wrzosek. He’s poised for another title shot soon.
The first six fights at Saturday’s “Reborn” show all ended inside the distance. Here are two of them, Michal Pietrzak just blasting Kamil Szymuszowski with an overhand right, and Sebastian Przybysz causing Jakub Wiklacz’s body to take its time crumpling after Przybysz delivered a left-hand bomb to the torso.
In the main event, Mateusz Gamrot and Norman Parke met for a third time, and it’s safe to say their grudge was finally settled. A quick recap, Gamrot and Parke first fought in May 2017, and it was Gamrot who emerged with a unanimous decision, though not without controversy. Both fighters accused each other of fouls, and the bout was close enough to merit an immediate rematch in the eyes of the fans and matchmakers.
The second fight was even more controversial. It ended in an anticlimactic no-contest after repeated eye pokes left Parke unable to continue, which led to one of Gamrot’s cornermen punching Parke and getting a nine-month suspension.
Chapter three brought it all to a definitive close.
Gamrot stayed unbeaten, improving to 16-0 after bludgeoning Parke to the point that he wasn’t allowed to finish the third round. It looks like the hatchet has been buried for now, so let’s hope it stays there.
Andrey Kalechits vs. Aleksandr Zmushko
Petr Birko vs. Ruslan Nasibulin
Rustam Serbiev vs. Vladislav Trusevich
Over at Belarusian Fight Championship 56 last Thursday (full fights available on YouTube), there was some beautiful submission work going on. Case in point, we always have time for a good Von Flue choke:
Andrey Kalechits really took his time setting up poor Aleksandr Zmushko here, it’s safe to say that Zmushko wasn’t familiar with one of the sneakiest submissions in the game.
In the co-main event, Petr Birko snatched Ruslan Nasibulin’s neck, and it looked like he was going to do everything short of taking Nasibulin’s head home with him to win this fight.
BFC 56 co-main:— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 9, 2020
Petr Birko chokes Ruslan Nasibulin to sleep in the first pic.twitter.com/6oDXVcu3iY
Lastly, we have an oddity as Rustam Serbiev takes advantage of some… let’s call it “not textbook” grappling defense to score a 19-second submission.
Where do they find some of these guys— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) July 9, 2020
Rustam Serbiev def. Vladislav Trusevich pic.twitter.com/xv7dejhMqQ
The finish itself isn’t odd, it’s the outcome of Serbiev’s three pro fights that are truly bizarre. He’s 2-1, and according to Tapology, all of his fights have ended at the 19-second mark. At this point, it can’t be a coincidence. It has to be in his contract that you get 19 hot seconds of Rustam, and then he’s out. Nice work if you can get it.
Grigory Dontsov vs. Bektursun Kaiypnazar
As impressive as those finishes were, the best submission of the week came from the MMA SERIES-9 event in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday.
There are a lot of ways to defend against a head kick. Get an arm up, slip it, just back out of range. Catch it and trip your opponent to the mat or for the elite strikers, find the timing and fire back with a pinpoint counter.
Grigory Dontsov ain’t got time for all that. His defense of choice? Grab the leg and throw on a heel hook.
So easy. Why do more people not do this?
Justin Gonzales vs. Jake Childers
Boston Salmon vs. Shawn West
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the Legacy Fighting Alliance is also back. The LFA popped up on UFC Fight Pass for the first time since March with a show from Sioux Falls, S.D., and the four-fight card produced two notable moments.
First, Justin Gonzales captured the vacant LFA featherweight title with a fourth-round finish of Jake Childers.
It was a great moment for Gonzales, who was not given a UFC contract after winning a unanimous decision against Zach Zane on the Contender Series last year. Now 11-0, it’s unlikely he’ll ever get to defend his title as a call-up to a major promotion is sure to come before year’s end.
And then there was Shawn West. There was no way we weren’t going to talk about this.
West almost had a career highlight here, catching Salmon during an exchange of right hands and setting himself up to add a finish of a UFC veteran to his resume. Instead, he went and lost his whole damn mind.
That running knee was a great shot, of course, but also absurdly illegal. The look in Salmon’s eyes afterwards was scary. Do you still get a trip to “The Shadow Realm” if you were the victim of a blatant foul? Unclear.
What is clear is that the LFA wasn’t afraid of disseminating this clip, as it not only went viral after being shared on the UFC Fight Pass account, but the LFA account made sure to retweet any coverage of the bizarre disqualification.
MMA is going to MMA sometimes. Own it.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Tatsuya Tsubakihara’s dynamite combination
Sebastian Przybysz snipes Jakub Wiklacz’s body
Andrey Kalechits’s Von Flue choke
Grigory Dontsov turns high kick into heel hook
Shawn West’s rule-shattering KO
Other (leave comment below)
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.