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Missed Fists: Fighter calls for eye poke timeout, gets knocked out cold instead

Gianni Melillo and Mohammad Karaki at UAE Warriors 20 in Abu Dhabi on June 19, 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.

The theme of this week is definitely “moments before disaster” as in addition to our usual array of crushing KOs and slick submissions, we have several bouts where it looked like one fighter was in the clear before being put down in brutal fashion. Suffering the cruelest twist of all this week is Mohammad Karaki, who was emphatically reminded of two things: 1) fighters don’t call their own timeouts and 2) protect yourself at all times.

(credit to @Barrelelapierna for compiling a list featuring the majority of these finishes and, as always, @Grabaka_Hitman. Give them a follow!)

Gianni Melillo vs. Mohammad Karaki
Victor Nunes vs. Azizbek Satibaldiev
Daniel Skibinski vs. Acoidan Duque
Andre Fialho vs. Sang Hoon Yoo

Karaki and opponent Gianni Melillo (who some of you might recognize from a pair of Bellator appearances) were already involved in a wild one at UAE Warriors 20 last Saturday in Abu Dhabi before the end came in a manner that was truly bizarre.

As Karaki rushed in to throw a looping right, it appeared that he was caught with an eye poke that caused him to immediately back away and motion for the referee to pause the action. The referee did not pause the action. So Melillo proceeded to drive a straight right across his chin.

Looks like there was an eye poke to me with the benefit of replay, so just a really bad break here for Karaki. The last time I remember someone taking a clean shot like this while calling for referee intervention was Michael Bisping when he ate that Anderson Silva knee. This turned out a lot worse.

This next knockout is kind of on the other side of things as Victor Nunes telegraphed what was going to happen here and Azizbek Satibaldiev still walked right into it. Watch as Satibaldiev carelessly tosses out a couple of straight punches, thinking nothing bad could possibly happen.

If time travel ever becomes a real thing, the first thing I’m doing is jumping to June 19, 2021, putting myself in Satibaldiev’s locker room and telling him, “Hey pal, watch out for that right.”

The second thing I’m doing is putting myself in Acoidan Duque’s corner and getting a whole bucketful of towels to throw into the cage.

Daniel Skibinski let Acoidan Duque know exactly what was going to happen, pummeling the poor guy from about forty different angles until the referee mercifully stepped in. Make it 12 straight now for Skibinski, who is bound to make the jump to a larger promotion soon.

One guy who’s already been there and has probably punched his ticket back? Andre Fialho.

When last we saw Fialho, he was shattering tall glass of water James Vick at a show in Florida. Last week, he scored an 18-second TKO of Sang Hoon Yoo.

No issue with the stoppage here. Yoo was absolutely cracked by that jab and only his toughness was keeping him from going out completely as Fialho followed up.

One last note from UAE Warriors 20: Ray Borg is back!

Omeil Brown vs. Joel Downey-Cave
Matthew Bonner vs. Nathias Frederick

Back to the theme of reversals, we have these excellent efforts Omeil Brown and Matthew Bonner from Cage Warriors 123 (available for replay on UFC Fight Pass) last night in London.

I’m not entirely sure how Brown got out of this choke from Downey-Cave, other than utilizing pure man strength.

Sometimes you gotta just gut it out. Which I think is also what happened with Bonner? Or was he just the beneficiary of a Nathias Frederick brain fart? I’ve watched this next clip a few times now and can’t figure out how Frederick ended up in such a bad position.

Keep in mind this was late in the fourth round, so it’s entirely possible that Frederick’s gas tank was running closer to E and a slip that he would have easily recovered from earlier in the fight proved more costly in this moment. Either way, outstanding job of Bonner to capitalize.

Not only did he battle back from adversity, he did it against the surging Frederick who entered the bout on a 10-fight unbeaten streak. Bonner was on a win streak too, but his overall pro record is a modest 10-6-1 after Thursday. He’s peaking at the right time though and he’s now the new Cage Warriors middleweight champion.

Cage Warriors 123 was the first of three straight events for the promotion, with another show tonight and another on Saturday. All are available to watch on UFC Fight Pass.

Aleksandr Osetrov vs. Rustambek Nurzhanov

Continuing along, Rustambek Nurzhanov seemed to have Aleksandr Osetrov scouted in their bout at Shlemenko Fighting Championship in Omsk, Russia, on Sunday. Then Osetrov changed his head shape.

You can see that Nurzhanov is doing the right thing here, getting that hand up, it’s just not quite high nor tight enough. And that’s the difference between safety and calamity.

Going off on a tangent, do you feel like there’s a bit of false advertising here? There’s not even one Alexander Shlemenko fight on the card! If you’re going to name the promotion after yourself, you should be competing at least twice in the same night every time. Bet on yourself.

Deven Paulsen vs. Dustin Black

You can’t call your own timeouts in MMA, but you can call your own stoppages. That’s what Dustin Black wisely did here after Deven Paulsen cracked him with a spin kick to the body at an Alaska Fighting Championship show in Anchorage on Wednesday.

No late stoppages for this man. Sometimes you have to just know when you’ve got got.

Dawid Romanski vs. Sergey Litvinov

AL: At Runda X (free replay available on YouTube) in Bialogard, Poland, David Romanski would have won the Humpty Dumpty award this week were it not for the fact that he had to team up with the mat to produce this scary-looking fall.

That’s a KO with a little KO added. Hope this doesn’t give Fight Circus any ideas for exploding canvas matches or anything, just to give these kinds of finishes that extra oomph.

Zhasulan Akimzhanov vs. Roman Avdalyan

And what would Missed Fists be without some good ol’ fashioned rule breaking, courtesy of Zhasulan Akimzhanov at Eagle Fighting Championship 37 (free replay available on YouTube) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last Friday.

Now I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure Akimzhanov brought a spear into the ring because I have no other explanation for what he did to Roman Avdalyan here:

I think I’d rather take a crowbar to the ribcage than what Akimzhanov is dishing out. That was a body kick KO outta nowhere if I’ve ever seen one.


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Gianni Melillo reminds Mohammad Karaki to protect himself
    (163 votes)
  • 17%
    Victor Nunes unloads a right hand bomb
    (55 votes)
  • 8%
    Aleksandr Osetrov kicks through Rustambek Nurzhanov’s defenses
    (28 votes)
  • 8%
    Deven Paulsen’s "No Mas" body kick
    (26 votes)
  • 11%
    Zhasulan Akimzhanov drives a kick through Roman Avdalyan’s midsection
    (37 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (9 votes)
318 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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