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Missed Fists: Robert Valentin avoids spiking, snags submission at inaugural Levels Fight League event

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Joey Berkenbosch throws Robert Valentin at a Levels Fight League show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on May 30, 2021
@LFL_MMA, 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.

With no UFC, no Bellator, and no PFL last week, it was the perfect time for other promotions to get some shine, including a new organization based in The Netherlands that had its inaugural show in Amsterdam on Sunday.

Robert Valentin vs. Joey Berkenbosch
Mo Elawil vs. Mahmoud Hashad
Yannick van Dinther vs. Stefano Groenendaal

AL: This week’s award for Most Composed goes to middleweight Robert Valentin (5-2), who survived a near-spiking to pick up a thrilling submission win in the main event of Levels Fight League 1.

Seriously, Valentin was inches away from ending up on the wrong end of this highlight.

JM: This is like a regional MMA version of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Kevin Randleman.

AL: Mo Elawil also turned a slam into a submission here, going to the ground thanks to Mahmoud Hashad’s body lock and quickly snatching a leg.

Elawil entered this bout undefeated while Hashad dropped to 0-5 with the loss, so it’s understandable that Elawil never really acted like he was in much danger.

JM: Classic regional MMA matchmaking.

“Let’s pit this guy who has never won against the guy who has never lost. I bet something unexpected will happen! ... Nevermind. Exactly what we expected happened. Shocking.”

AL: And in a battle of middleweights making their amateur debuts, Yannick van Dinther found himself blessed with some beginner’s luck as he caught Stefano Groenendaal with the ol’ body-kick-oops-no-knee-to-the-head KO.

JM: Fighters don’t throw body kicks enough. Not only because it’s a great technique in its own right but every once in a while your opponent ducks himself right into a KO. Not quite as underutilized as a jab, but it’s up there on the list of things more fighters should do.

Levels Fight League 1 is available to replay for free on FITE TV.

LaRue Burley vs. Bradley Desir
Bobby Nash vs. Ryan Dickson
Kurt Holobaugh vs. Jose Luis Verdugo

AL: Xtreme Fighting Championships landed in Des Moines, Iowa, for its first major show of 2021, which featured several big show vets finding success.

LaRue Burley, who gained a burst of notoriety in 2013 for temporarily derailing the Bubba Jenkins hype train, picked up the best KO of the show, spamming a right hand until opponent Bradley Desir had to say uncle.

JM: The thing about street fights, the street always wins. (Get it, because his name is LaRue?)

AL: Took me a second but I’m glad we all got there.

UFC veteran Bobby Nash was victorious in the welterweight co-main event. Though Nash failed to net a win in three UFC tries, he’s won three straight since leaving the organization in 2017. Here he is getting into a brawl with Ryan Dickson and finding a way to smelt Dickson’s iron chin.

JM: Hard to imagine this guy didn’t get any wins in the UFC given that he seems totally against defense of any kind. Dickson teed off on him plenty, he just was outgunned.

AL: One fight before that we had Kurt Holobaugh in action. Holobaugh was winless in four fights across two UFC stints, but like Nash has bounced back with consecutive knockout victories for XFC. I’m tempted to say he’s won three straight after essentially having to finish Jose Luis Verdugo twice.

JM: Man, XFC really has just become the home of UFC cast-offs. Like a wrestle-back bracket turned into an entire MMA org. Welp, there’s only one logical next step here: Holobaugh and Nash fight, winner gets another shot at the UFC.

David Martinez vs. Francisco Rivera

AL: Over at Combate Global, we had another UFC vet in action as Francisco Rivera took part in a one-night, four-man bantamweight tournament. He made it to the final, but ran into a hungry David Martinez who made Rivera pay for his trademark aggression.

Credit to Rivera, it took everything Martinez had to put him down.

JM: Francisco, that’s fun to say! Less fun to be though, at least right now. My man got drilled repeatedly. Love the head kick combo from Martinez. Clips him, throws some punches, and goes right back to the well with another head kick on the staggered Rivera. Beautiful stuff.

Vladimir Dayneko vs. Leonid Timoshenko
Ramazan Amaev vs. Bektursun Kaiypnazar

AL: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle Fighting Championship continues to churn out talent and highlights. Case in point, an event in Kazan, Russia, gave us this entertaining heavyweight scrap between Vladimir Dayneko and Leonid Timoshenko.

I can’t remember the last time I saw so much head movement where the movement was actually causing the fighters to run right into their opponent’s punches. Watch Timoshenko get dropped here after breaking out the ill-fated Tim Hague feint-to-nowhere.

JM: Oof. Dayneko finally got a read on his man and threw where he was going. That’s some legitimate skill there. Not sure how much heavyweight talent Khabib has in his promotion but Dayneko at least appears to have something worth tuning in for.

AL: Speaking of prospects, bantamweight Ramazan Amaev literally jumped off the screen with a flying knee that had his opponent deciding, “Nope, no sir, I don’t want any more of that. I’m fine right here on the mat, sir.”

JM: In football and basketball terms, Kaiypnazar made a “business decision” and I can’t fault him for it.

Eagle Fighting Championship fights and highlights are available on YouTube.

Antonio Carstens vs. Gino Muller

AL: There’s ground-and-pound, and then there’s what Antonio Carstens did to Gino Muller here at a Live Fight Night event in Santiago, Chile, last Saturday.

That’s the kind of finish you only see when you’re watching fighters with less than five pro bouts combined.

JM: It’s not every day you see a fighter chicken-wing himself. Seriously, the lack of survival instincts there is pretty stunning. I’m gonna make a judgment call and say that Muller should find a new line of work.

Carlos Martinez vs. Roberto Ballesteros

AL: Ladies and gentlemen, from Jasaji Fighting League in Mexico, we have a clear-cut Humpty Dumpty award winning knockout.

Carlos Martinez and Roberto Ballesteros are going to have to split this award thanks to Ballesteros face-planting and Martinez slipping and falling on his ass after landing the knee that caused said face-planting.

JM: That was a lot of falling in a very short space of time. Great knee though. That’s how you know he got everything into it, when he falls on his own ass landing it.

Norik Tadevosyan vs. Shokhrukh Askarov

AL: And to get us ready for a trio of heavyweight fights coming up Saturday at UFC Vegas 28, how about some Russian-flavored light heavyweight swangin’ and bangin’ from a Hall of Fame show in Novosibirsk?

I have no idea how any of those punches landed but bah gawd they did and they did so with authority.

JM: Those punches aren’t winning any beauty pageants but they sure were effective. Legit faceplant KO there, which is always a good time.

And shout out to whoever the genius was who named their fight organization Hall of Fame. That is A+ work. “Oh, what do you do? I’m in the Hall of Fame. For what? Fighting.” Snake it til you make it, baby.


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Robert Valentin survives slam and gets submission
    (28 votes)
  • 12%
    LaRue Burley unloads the right hand
    (14 votes)
  • 24%
    David Martinez’s tournament-winning combo
    (26 votes)
  • 15%
    Ramazan Amaev’s flying knee
    (17 votes)
  • 18%
    Carlos Martinez slips, scores knee KO
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (3 votes)
108 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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