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 (and weirdest) of 2020, but while we were doing so we ironically we neglected to mention several highlights that just missed our year-end deadline. So before we look fully ahead to the UFC’s return to Fight Island next week, let’s make sure that no KO or submission gets left behind.
Fazliddin Obidov vs. Islom Sharopov
Aleksandr Maslov vs. Mahmoud Mohamed
Firuz Khodibaev vs. Sultanbek Parpibaev
Alexey Shurkevich vs. Yuriy Maslov
We got the whole shebang at the inaugural Open Fighting Championship show (free replay available on YouTube) in Samara, Russia, on Dec. 26, starting with Fazliddin Obidov not only nailing the head kick, but also the ensuing gymnastics routine.
For those keeping score at home, that was the off-the-cage backflip, followed by a backwards somersault, into another backflip. That’s a 9.6 on my card. Good show.
Not as fancy was heavyweight Aleksandr Maslov’s absolute walloping of Mahmoud Mohamed.
Maslov missed badly on a head kick, shrugged off an incredibly awkward takedown attempt, and then just said “screw it” and fired piston right hand from the hip. The end result: great success!
In an unfortunate mismatch, Tajikistan’s Firuz Khodibaev improved to 5-0 in his pro career with a head kick knockout of Sultanbek Parpibaev, who had no record to speak of prior to this bout.
Parpibaev made the bold decision to lead with his face here and instantly came to regret it. Khodibaev just let Parpibaev walk into his fists and by the time Parpibaev finally realized it would be a good idea to get his hands up, it was too late. The official time of the stoppage was 14 seconds.
And then there was the Humpty Dumpty fall of Yuriy Maslov, who was actually pretty lucky that he dropped when he did as Alexey Shurkevich had a rocket punch aimed right at his dome that just missed.
Maxim Butorin vs. Artur Pronin
Akop Stepanyan vs. Mikhail Gogitidze
Dordzhi Daraev vs. Yan Sleptsov
Hitting the mat did not save Artur Pronin. Maxim Butorin saw red as soon as Pronin was down and he rushed in with some life-changing hammerfists.
Can’t fault the ref for not stopping those extra shots as one second it looked like Pronin was actively working to kick Butorin away from him and the next he was a bobblehead. Butorin is just 25 years old and now 18-3-1. He’s faced solid competition, so don’t be surprised if the Russian welterweight ends up signed to a major North American promotion sometime in 2021.
Akop Stepanyan has already been down that path, navigating through an unsuccessful run in Bellator, but seven years later he’s still at it and doing some serious damage at age 34.
Opponent Mikhail Gogitidze looked like he was ready to cough up a lung after taking a kick to the body and all the punches Stepanyan delivered after were simply a formality.
On the other side of things we have Dordzhi Daraev, who is just beginning his MMA journey. Who knows if this is something he even wants to pursue as a career, but he’s 2-0 now after slapping a mean heel hook on Yan Sleptsov.
Sleptsov was in the midst of an excellent sweep until he left his leg exposed. Daraev didn’t hesitate to snatch it and seconds later he had the tap-out. It looks like Sleptsov was both in pain and disbelief afterwards.
Those highlights came from AMC Fight Nights Global 99 on Dec. 25, with fight replays available on YouTube.
Galina Yakupova vs. Anna Skoriyakova
Nikolai Kaushansky vs. Sergey Smirnov
Ildar Kudaibergenov vs. Daniyar Synasap
Daraev’s heel hook was just one of the great submissions that capped off 2020. Over at New Generation League 2 (free replay available on YouTube) in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Christmas Day, strawweight Galina Yaupova scored a gorgeous armbar from mount.
Those finishing instincts, shades of a young Ronda Rou-okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. At 24 with a 3-1 record, Yakupova is still yet to fight anyone with a record better than 0-0. Regardless, she’s one to keep an eye on.
All that plus two of our favorite submissions happened that same Christmas week. Nikolai Kaushansky won with an Ezekiel choke from top position against an over-matched Sergey Smirnov at Two Headed Eagle Cup 2 in Moscow and Ildar Kudaibergenov locked in a Von Flue choke at Naiza Fighting Championship 27 (free replay available on YouTube) in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Nikolai Kaushansky se queda con el evento estelar de Two Headed Eagle Cup III, via Ezekiel choke pic.twitter.com/NIEe7ZCavX— Barrele la pierna (@Barrelelapierna) December 26, 2020
Numero 2⃣— Barrele la pierna (@Barrelelapierna) December 28, 2020
Von Flue choke de Ildar Kudaibergenov en Naiza FC 27 pic.twitter.com/vVR499ASjy
It has to be mentioned that Kaushansky was 16-3 heading into his fight with Sergey Smirnov, who was *ahem* 0-0. Small show matchmaking, everybody, ain’t it grand?
Kudaibergenov (3-0) wasn’t exactly facing a world beater either, but at least Daniyar Synasap (0-3) had been in a fight before.
You know what? That’s such a nice collection of submissions, it’s time for us to do something we haven’t done in a while. That’s right, let’s play a round of Who. Tapped it. Better?!?!?
Who tapped it better?
This poll is closed
Chasen Umholtz vs. James Webb
Yes, it was mostly still 2020 stuff this week, but that doesn’t mean the new year has left us empty-handed. From an MMAX Fighting Championship show that took place this past Saturday in scenic Poteau, Okla., here’s Chasen Umholtz detonating James Webb.
Here's Chasen Umholtz's brutal KO of James Webb in R1 yesterday at MMAXFC Fighting Championship 12: Bad Intentions pic.twitter.com/5Sm37d02nS— LORD HONKY HUMUNGUS (@Mr_Honky) January 3, 2021
And a belated Happy New Year to all of you as well!