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Missed Fists: Flying knee sends fighter crashing through cage to the floor, plus more awkward ‘phone booth fights’

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Diogo Lopes lies on the floor after being knocked out of the cage at a Home Fight Championship show in Para, Brazil, on Dec. 4, 2021
@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.

We are just three weeks away from a new year and if you thought that the MMA world was slowing down in the slightest, you are sorely mistaken. Not only are we coming off of an excellent UFC and Bellator weekend with UFC 269 just a day away, there has also been a ridiculous amount of highlights pouring in from around the globe.

So before you finalize your “Best of 2021” picks, make sure to keep your eye on Missed Fists for any hidden gems that might tickle your fancy.

(Big thanks as always to @Barrelelapierna for their weekly lists of the best KOs and submissions, and to @Grabaka_Hitman for uploading many of the clips you see here. Give them a follow and chip in on Patreon if you can.)

Romero dos Reis vs. Diogo Lopes

AL: From Home Fighting Championship 3 in Para, Brazil, we have Romero dos Reis connecting with a flying knee that I’m sure he expected to be effective, just not this effective. Took out opponent Diogo Lopes and the cage with one blow.

JM: That has to be a no contest, right? Because I’m not sure the knee even lands effectively (you know, other than the force of it breaking the cage). It looked like Lopes blocked the knee but fell backwards onto the floor. You don’t see that everyday.

AL: The actual verdict is unclear, but even if this is a no contest, that’s a clear ring-out win for dos Reis in my books with an assist from the cold, unforgiving floor.

Judge for yourself and check out the rest of HFC 3 for free on YouTube.

Walter Pugliesi vs. Konstantin Linnik

The other flying knee finish that made waves this past week was this seven-second knockout by Walter Pugliesi at The Golden Cage 6 in Sicilia, Italy, which is notable both for its brevity and its questionable sportsmanship.

Did Pugliesi clearly indicate he was going to touch gloves before the referee sent them off? Was this bad etiquette? Should Linnik — a veteran of almost 50 fights — know better?

What say you?

JM: I’m fine with it, if only because The Tattooed Man showed clear intent by sprinting across the cage. Don’t try to dap up the train when it’s on the tracks, that’s Day 1 stuff.

Also, I hope Pugliesi is only doing MMA to build his bona fides for his inevitable Hollywood turn. I’ve never seen a man more prepared to fruitlessly attempt to assassinate John Wick than Pugliesi.

AL: I’m curious to see if he could do better than Boban.

I don’t love what Pugliesi did, but man, Linnik, you gotta have better instincts than that. Regardless of what he may or may not have communicated before the start of the fight, be prepared!

Anyhow, if you want to read more about the, uh, colorful Pugliesi, check out this interview with from September of last year.

We’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming momentarily, but first let’s see what’s up with Punch Club’s attempt to hop on the white hot phone booth fights hype train.

Am I crazy or do these kind of… suck?

JM: Wow, just straight up biting the Circus’ style. And yes, they do suck, especially with full boxing gloves. Those things take up all the space in there.

AL: This already wasn’t the greatest idea when Fight Circus did it a month ago and it’s even more awkward here for a number of reasons. The fighters are bigger, as you pointed out the gloves are just so cumbersome, and for the most part you’re really more worried about either guy bumping their head than actually doing significant damage to each other.

Sadly, it may be time to put this experiment to rest.

JM: I’m not ready to give up just yet. Lethwei was still kind of fun because headbutts and elbows were a thing but for the phone booth concept to work, we need a specially crafted one, that affords fighters at least some space to operate. Just not to use footwork.

Daeri Alderman vs. Mike Zindler

AL: Shout-out to Terrance McKinney for taking the time to promote his teammate Daeri Alderman after the amateur featherweight scored a spectacular buggy choke at a Fusion Fight League show in Billings, Montana.

I don’t know if this is actually the first-ever buggy in MMA history as McKinney claims (we saw one last December in combat jiu-jitsu), but it’s definitely one of the best submissions we’ve seen in a cagefight this year.

JM: Lucas Clay landed one last year at HFC 41 but other than that, I can’t recall any. And best is a relative term. It’s certainly cool and unique, but by definition hitting one of these sort of means your opponent isn’t the greatest grappler, which docks points. Still, bravo!

Shamil Guseynov vs. Kerim Shamsatov

AL: Russia’s Hardcore FC (all of their events are free on YouTube, including their latest) is an absolute highlight factory and could be poised for a massive 2021. Don’t be surprised if it soon becomes the most frequent contributor to this feature.

Case in point here’s Shamil Guseynov with our Humpty Dumpty KO of the week:

JM: Oh good gracious that was nasty. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: if you’re gonna name your organization Hardcore FC, you need to be bringing the violence. And Guseynov sure as hell did.

Ahmed Abdulkadirov vs. Mauro Paixao

AL: Hopping over to Dusseldorf, Germany, for ELITE MMA Championship 8 (replay available on FITE PPV), we have Ahmed Abdulkadirov utilizing WTF style to take out Mauro Paixao.

Abdulkadirov nearly tears his f*cking groin going for a head kick, then just uncorks a right hand bomb. This is my favorite KO of the year.

JM: I wholeheartedly agree. The missed head kick he turns into a karate movie split is delightful, and then he hauls off and clocks him with the overhand. What a five-second stretch.

Varun Sunder vs. Scott Erikson
Antonio Ramirez vs. Jesus Juarez

AL: And now I’d like to introduce a new award, the Goodbye My Liver trophy, which will go to the best body shot KO of the week.

Our inaugural nominees are…

Battlefield Fight League’s Varun Sunder for Get the Point (of My Knee into Your Ribs)?

And Fusion FC 48’s Antonio Ramirez for I’m (Spinnin’ and) Winnin’ Anyway

Who takes this one?

JM: We’ve been doing this column for, like, three years and we just now made an award for body shot KOs. Shame on us.

In considering the nominees for this award, I think my default starting point is going to be “How much pain does the person look like they are in?” for a deciding factor. However, in this instance, both men look like they just got gut shot, so that’s no help.

As a result, give me a spinning back kick over an intercepting knee any day of the week.

Cole Henning vs. Tumisang Madiba

AL: Cole Henning loses points for having the nickname “The Hitman” as opposed to the far more obvious “Mr. Perfect” (Get your ‘80s/’90s wrestling stars straight, man!), but gains major points for recording the fastest knockout in Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide history.

They clocked him in at five seconds, which sounds about right.

JM: That was not what I was expecting from that clip. As far as record-breaking KOs go, it’s pretty demure. With a shadier promotion, I’d even wonder if there was some diving afoot but my guess is it’s just one of those things — Madiba got his equilibrium zapped and fell down and that’s it.

Christian Turner vs. Dominic Colangelo

AL: We close out on what isn’t the best KO of the week, but certainly the one filmed in the most exciting fashion. From National Fighting Championship XMas Party this past weekend, here’s Christian Turner flooring Dominic Colangelo and causing whoever is supposed to be capturing the moment to go full And 1 Mixtape.

I think it’s customary to rush the cage after a finish like that.

JM: I will always have a soft spot in my heart for KOs that come when a fighter punches a dude who is standing up. That’s how you take advantage of laziness and it almost always yields a fun visual. Georgia, Stand Up (with proper technique lest you face the consequences).

AL: This event happened right in your backyard of Atlanta and Turner is now apparently the NFC Georgia Lightweight champion. Bow down to your new overlord!


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Diogo Lopes exits the cage
    (54 votes)
  • 8%
    Walter Pugliesi’s dirty (?) flying knee KO
    (18 votes)
  • 10%
    Phone booth fights!
    (22 votes)
  • 18%
    Daeri Alderman’s buggy choke
    (40 votes)
  • 34%
    Shamil Guseynov’s clear-cut KO of the Year
    (72 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (5 votes)
211 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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