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Missed Fists: Mihai Laurentiu catches year’s cleanest head kick at Brave CF show, more

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Mihai Laurentiu (blue gloves) connects with a high kick at a Brave CF show in Bucuresti, Romania, on July 20, 2020
@bravemmaf, 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.

The MMA world is back in full swing and not only are we soon to have Bellator back on Friday nights alongside the likes of the Legacy Fighting Alliance, but we were treated to some Sunday midnight MMA from Bucuresti, Romania, earlier this week courtesy of Brave Combat Federation.

And what a treat it was, starting with one of the best head kicks of the year.

Mihai Laurentiu vs. Ioan Vranceanu
Ion Grigore vs. Mamadou Lamine Sene
Enrico Cortese vs. Claudiu Alexe
Malin Hermansson vs. Ana Maria Pal

AL: Meet Mihai Laurentiu. He seems like a nice enough fellow, but be warned: If you’re a human skull occupying the same cage as him, he probably HATES YOU.

Case in point:

Laurentiu made an absolute mess of Ioan Vranceanu here. For a split second, if you pause at just the right moment, it looks like he knocked Vranceanu’s beard off. Just *whap* and then not a single hair on his face. The reality of the situation is memorable on its own, of course.

JM: These are the types of clips we do this for. That is as clean a head kick KO as you are ever gonna see. Full wrap around from the foot, perfect contact on the chin, instantaneous unconsciousness, it has it all. Bravo!

AL: Here is the part where we splash a little rain on the parade. A look at their records will show you that Vranceanu was 8-17 heading into this bout with eight straight losses. So it’s not exactly the most pivotal win of Laurentiu’s young career. But as they say, you can only beat who they put in front of you and if you’re going to face subpar competition, you may as well finish them with a knockout that might crack the year-end lists.

JM: I mean, at now nine straight losses, you’ve got to start reconsidering your career choice. I know that fighters are irrational people, by and large, but you gotta figure that four losses in a row would make you sit down and have a think, six should make you have to explain to your family why you’re still doing this, and at nine, it feels like you may need to just let this dream die.

A dream deferred may dry up like a raisin in the sun, but that’s still better than your brain doing that instead. (And yes, that is a Langston Hughes reference. Read a book.)

AL: Heavyweights were also in action and you know we had to show them some love. Mamadou Lamine Sene seemed to be on his way to a win before Ion Grigore mounted a comeback in the third, finishing with a... uh, less than Gaethje-esque flurry.

JM: My favorite thing about this is just how Homer Simpson-looking Grigore is. Note-perfect for an amorphous tire-stack of a man to get wailed on for 12 minutes and then spike a comeback on his exhausted foe. Now that’s heavyweight MMA.

AL: The main event featuring Enrico Cortese was another classic mismatch as he brought a 7-1 record into his fight with pro debutant Claudio Alexe. Unsurprisingly, Alexe was in over his head and ended up tapping out after Cortese landed a few life-changing elbows.

JM: You know, some people may give Alexe crap for tapping to strikes but that was a good submit. He wasn’t helping anybody by taking anymore of those hellbows. Live to fight another day, my guy.

AL: I’m glad this was ruled a TKO, because Alexe doesn’t deserve the ignominy of tapping to strikes (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s a discussion for another time).

In flyweight action, Malin Hermansson showed that she is friggin’ strong with this no-hooks choke of Ana Maria Pal:

JM: Chokes without hooks in are among my favorite things in MMA because they just look so disrespectful. Like you finally got the nerve to stand up to the schoolyard bully and then he (or she) reminds you that life isn’t a Disney movie and they just beat the tar out of you.

“I don’t need to do this pretty because I can just big brother you, nerd.” Ana Maria Pal knows what I mean.

A full replay of Brave CF 35 is available for free on FITE TV. Check it out!

Vanessa Demopoulos vs. Sam Hughes
Kevin Natividad vs. Kyle Estrada
Christian Natividad vs. Michael Aquila

AL: Last week’s Legacy Fighting Alliance show had some great finishes. While Hermansson was impressive, headliner Vanessa Demopoulos may have had the best submission of the week with this fourth-round reverse triangle choke out of Sam Hughes.

JM: Reverse triangle chokes are also fun because it almost always means someone just screwed up. Like, no one is trying to set up a reverse triangle, things get wonky and then it just happens. They’re also pretty difficult to finish, so kudos to Demopoulos.

AL: With the win, Demopoulos improved to 5-1 and became the first-ever LFA strawweight champion. It doesn’t sound like she’ll be defending it as it was revealed on Inside LFA that the 31-year-old has already been slotted for a Contender Series bout on Aug. 11.

In a fun bit of booking, brothers Kevin and Christian Natividad fought on the same card and both scored wins with eerily similar explosive knockouts.

Back the opponent up, lead with the left, and finish with a bomb right.

So the question has to be asked, which brother punched it better?

JM: Well, I know you may prefer Natividad’s knockout, but I think I favor Natividad’s knockout.

AL: Bold take.

JM: Not that there’s anything wrong with Natividad’s KO, mind you, I just think there was a little more panache in Natividad’s right hand. Ultimately, it’s a close call between Natividad and Natividad, but I feel confident that Natividad deserves top honors.

AL: This is why we come to you with the hard questions.

LFA 85 is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass and don’t forget that there is another show live tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Edgar Berlanga vs. Eric Moon
Elvis Rodriguez vs. Dennis Okoth

AL: Over in Top Rank’s squared circle, cats were getting absolutely creamed on Tuesday.

First up, Edgar Berlanga dummying Eric Moon.

Inform the readers, in your expert opinion where does “stop, drop, and roll” rank among combat sports techniques in terms of effectiveness?

JM: Look, I’m not here to tell you that stopping, dropping, and rolling is a good strategy, but I understand why he did it. Good heavens that was brutal. Berlanga has him shelled up, fires a couple shots to the body to get the hands to check down and then just double-taps him for the finish.

AL: As for Elvis Rodriguez, his opponent Dennis Okoth seemed to be getting his dukes up just fine until, well, he wasn’t.

JM: The way Okoth almost sits down lets you know he was entirely out of it. That wasn’t a “I got clipped, I’m gonna fall to a knee and shake out the cobwebs” or even a “Wow, that one caught me, need to bounce back,” that was a “We’re sorry but the number you have dialed has been disconnected” taking a seat.

Just look at his eyes. That man is seeing seven different kinds of spirit.

AL: He’s seen some sh*t, for sure.

Kota Nakano vs. Ruku

As did poor Ruku in the following clip from Krush 115 in Tokyo on Tuesday:

That feint. Kota Nakano had dude swatting at bees.

JM: I know I shouldn’t laugh, given the seriousness of fighting but that clip is hilarious. Ruku looks completely lost in there, like a child swinging his arms wildly trying to make contact with anything. That is the look of a helpless and outmatched man, and the full-sell feint is just spectacular to see.

Michael Nunn vs. Pat Miletich
Jeremy Horn vs. Marty Lindquist

AL: And now for some odds and ends featuring a couple of MMA lifers.

Inaugural UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich has been making headlines for the wrong reasons lately, but if you wanted to know how his combat sports comeback in Davenport, Iowa, turned out this past Saturday, he came out on the wrong end of a split decision in a kickboxing out against Michael Nunn.

JM: First, Michael “Second To” Nunn has an incredible name; second, I’d say Miletich is too old to be taking punches to the head, but given his stance on vaccinations, not sure it’s gonna make much of a difference.

AL: In brighter news, 119-fight MMA veteran Jeremy Horn is now an undefeated pro boxer after winning in his debut against Marty Lindquist.

Horn only picked up 16 knockouts in his nearly 30-year fighting career, but he’s already 1-for-1 in finishing boxing matches.

JM: Jeremy Horn is going to be 112 years old and still fighting because I genuinely think he can’t live without it.

Like whale in the ocean, if Horn doesn’t surface and fight someone once every couple of years (aside, I have no idea how long whales hold their breath) he just kind of falls over and dissolves. Hey, at least he got a win though!

AL: Add marine biology to the list of subjects that we touch upon here every week.

That’s all the time we have for you today, folks, but tune in next time when we bring you more of the highs

and lows

… from the world of combat sports.


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Mihai Laurentiu’s squeaky clean head kick
    (66 votes)
  • 9%
    Vanessa Demopoulos’s clutch reverse triangle choke
    (14 votes)
  • 5%
    Natividad bros dueling KOs
    (8 votes)
  • 9%
    Elvis Rodriguez literally sits a man down
    (15 votes)
  • 21%
    Kota Nakano’s feint of doom
    (33 votes)
  • 9%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (15 votes)
151 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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