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Missed Fists: Celebrating 2021’s craziest moments, amazing finishes, 5-on-5 brawls, a missing finger, vomit, Fight Circus 3, more

A multi-man MMA fight at a The War event in Poland on Nov. 26, 2021
@Sebinho93x, 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.

Nobody could have predicted how the combat sports landscape would be shaped in 2021.

Amanda Nunes lost, Glover Teixeira and Charles Oliveira became UFC champions, A.J. McKee might be the best featherweight in the world, Conor McGregor booked two MMA fights for the first time since 2018, Fedor Emelianenko is still picking up first-round knockouts, and Jake Paul became one of the world’s most successful boxers.

It was weird.

But nothing says weird like the fights that go down on the fringes of the MMA sphere and once again it is our pleasure to bring you the best of the best from the regional and international scene. So join the esteemed Jed K. Meshew and Alexander K. Lee as we bring you the fourth annual Fisty Awards!

(hold for applause)

(Big thanks as always to @Barrelelapierna for their weekly lists of the best KOs and submissions, and to @Grabaka_Hitman for uploading so many of the clips you see here every week. Give them a follow and chip in on Patreon if you can, and also follow all the other fight fanatics on Twitter without whom Missed Fists would not be possible).

Fighter of the Year (The Demolidor Fisty)

Sharaputdin Magomedov

AL: Call this the award for Missed Fists most featured fighter (say that 10 times fast), or call it a mark of guaranteed future greatness, but I’m feeling confident that AMC Fight Night’s middleweight star Sharaputdin Magomedov is a worthy recipient of this year’s Demolidor Fisty.

In his three of his four wins this year, Magomedov showed zero regard for the safety of his opponent’s internal organs, scored one of the cleanest standing elbow KOs you will ever see, and then took a little more than a round to land an unreal hook kick.

With Magomedov not turning 28 until May, we’re probably still a year away from seeing him in a major North American promotion. Whenever he decides to make the jump, you can bet he’s going to become a fan favorite in no time.

JM: Magomedov was simply undeniable this year. Four wins in 2021 and THREE of them were worthy of inclusion in these hallowed pages, with the hook kick and elbow finishes earning legit consideration for Knockout of the Year. At 7-0, I am pretty surprised this guy hasn’t already been snapped up and it’s only a matter of time until it happens.

Fight of the Year (The Frye-Takayama Fisty)

Park Seung-Mo vs. Nandin-Erdene Munguntsooj

AL: Keep your Gaethje-Chandler slugfests and your Yan-Sandhagen technical masterpieces. Give me 30 seconds of dumb chaos any day of the week.

That’s what Park Seung-Mo and Nandin-Erdene Munguntsooj gave us at a Road FC show in March. Check out the clip for yourself.

I’m still on this high and I’m never coming down.

JM: This fight remains a banger. It’s if you condensed Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler — a fight that finished sixth on our end-of-year rankings - into 30 seconds. A back-and-forth with one guy getting dropped multiple times and seemingly done for who then pulls a miracle out of his hind parts.

AL: Regarding our honorable mentions, I think it’s pretty clear that the length of a fight is inconsequential. What matters is how much swangin’ and/or bangin’ there was and how much insanity the fighters were able to pack into their brief, glorious time.

JM: As we all know, it’s always all about the swangin’ and the bangin’. For the record though, I think Wendris Patilima vs. Theodorus Ginting may have gotten screwed here. It was a much longer fight but, as the kids said (said? I’m old), it slapped.

Honorable Mention

Ariel Ibarra vs. Daniel Guerra

Julieta Martinez vs. Nayla Arla

Ametrious Armstrong vs. Kendrid Wolf

Best KO (The Krazy Horse Fisty)

Mehdi Dakaev

AL: We named this award after the immortal Charles Bennett and I think he’d be proud of the wild efforts highlighted here, which include someone throwing a KO punch while soaring through the air, two of the worst slams in recent memory, a fighter nearly splitting their pants and then getting a knockout anyway, and a combo straight out of Tekken.

All that said, this Fisty has to go to Mehdi Dakaev:

JM: Was there ever any doubt?

Superman punches are one of the more fun things to happen in an MMA fight whenever they land but we’ve never seen someone so fully committed to the bit that they dive headlong at an opponent like Dakaev does and frankly, we may never see it again. Doing insane, once in a lifetime things is exactly what “Krazy Horse” is remembered for so this is well earned by Dakaev.

AL: Anyone longing for the days of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Bob Sapp powerbombing fools were treated to a pair of scary slams this year, courtesy of Roland Dunlap and Nursulton Ruziboev.

JM: Ruziboev hits like 60 percent of the Aronabomb and I am always here for that but man, Dunlap has got to feel bad that Dakaev went full blown Henry Cavill to take home the Fisty because if he hadn’t, I think Dunlap takes the gold. That is one of the most emphatic KOs I’ve ever seen.

AL: Also sharing the silver Fisty award are Ahmed Abdulkadirov for not succeeding and try-trying again, and Evgeny Kharabet for doing the opposite of that and landing just about everything he threw.

JM: Kharabet hit a combo straight from a ‘90s action movie, in real life, against a real professional cage fighter. I forgot all about that but I’m now so happy you reminded me.

Honorable Mention

Adam Meskini vs. Eduard Kexel

Pavel Pinzul vs. Roman Belogurov

Danielle Cohen vs. Laura Ottenberg

Rahmads Stromanis vs. Karar Al-Jaberi

Charlie Radtke vs. Brandon Lopez

Jarred Merrick vs. Kyleb Collins

Victor Nunes vs. Azizbek Satibaldiev

Marcos Breno vs. Leandro da Silva

Karen Manukyan vs. Kelvin Ogonovore

Andrey Chernetsov vs. Viktor Matveev

Mohammad Farhad vs. Uloomi Karim

Kyle Stewart vs. John Poppie

Antonio Carstens vs. Gino Muller

Nikola Drljaca vs. Aleksandar Milovanovic

Best Submission (The Tobikan Judan Fisty)

Mateus Santos

AL: There was really only one real choice for this year’s Tobikan Judan award and that’s Mateus Santos’ mystery submission of Alexander Volodin.

It has all the makings of a classic Missed Fists highlight: Unique, confusing, and apparently extraordinarily painful. I’m still not completely sure what happened here and I bet Volodin isn’t either.

JM: It’s a toe hold. This was one of those things I would try to do all the time when I started grappling and knew just enough to think I was clever but then abandoned it when I realized it only worked against white belts. But damn if Santos didn’t hit that in a real fight, real effectively. It’s super weird and obviously cool and likely the only finish of its kind in an actual pro MMA fight; in short, it’s a deserving winner.

AL: Jacob Silva is a worthy runner-up. He pulled off a great comeback against Tyler Bialecki and did so in style, catching him in an inverted triangle with an Americana thrown in for good measure.

JM: The old two-for-one special. That one was nasty, too. I’ve seen worse silver medalists.

AL: Rounding out our other notables are Rickey Furar’s Mighty Wiz-Choke, Masakazu Imanari doing Imanari sh*t at age 45, and Nate Williams hitting a “spine twister.”

JM: Imanari forever.

And it would be criminal not to showcase Kumarbek Arykbaev’s scorpion crunch:

Honorable Mention

Yajaira Cunningham vs. Iveth del Carmen

Daeri Alderman vs. Mike Zindler

Sagar Kashyap vs. Shivam Kumar

Ty Kalista vs. Mike Olaya

Jonathan Davis vs. Mason Iacobellis

Marvin Miekley vs. Thomas Aldemir

Omeil Brown vs. Joel Downey-Cave

Anastasia Feofanova vs. Sevde Turk

Yersultan Shakenbay vs. Mukhammadamin Mukumov

Ali Magomedov vs. Islam Abuev

Josh Altum vs. Frank Meno

Best Head Kick (The Mirko Cro Cop Fisty)

Carlos Camargo

AL: This year’s best head kicks came in a couple of delicious flavors, either of the shin-to-the-head or front kick variety, and my personal favorite was Carlos Camargo’s finish that was kind of a combination of both?

As our own E. Casey Leydon put it, Camargo smacked dude with a “leg uppercut.”

JM: Yeah, there is no other possible choice for the Cro Cop this year. Leg uppercut is exactly right (upperkick?). Also, everything else is perfect. The fall, the river of blood running down that poor guy’s chest, the obvious physical disparity between the two. This is extremely Cro Cop-ian.

AL: On the topic of front kicks though, they didn’t come much better than amateur Chrissy Mountford’s effort; and as far as more traditional kicks to the dome go, KSW’s Ion Surdu had arguably the year’s crispest.

JM: I will always be charmed by KSW still allowing fighters to paint themselves up with sponsorships. The UFC won’t allow fighters to have on their ass anymore but in KSW you can have fighters with residential construction company logos on their back. Poland is dope.

Billy Pasulatan needs to be mentioned as well because switch kicks are cool as hell.

Honorable Mention

Fabiola Esquivel vs. Ana Villanueva

Ailin Luciana Perez vs. Alessandra Tainara

Lucia Szabova vs. Cristina Netza

Brandon Murphy vs. David Romano

Lucas Biron vs. Cleber Danilo

Caio Trovao vs. Denis Silva

Best Body Shot (The Goodbye My Liver, Goodbye My Friend Fisty)

Felipe Lima

AL: The newly christened Goodbye My Liver, Goodbye My Friend Fisty for the year’s best body shot saw some stiff competition, but I’m leaning towards Felipe Lima’s gorgeous switch knee finish, which just gets the edge over Maria Oliveira and Zhasulan Akimzhanov’s efforts:

Which one of these jumped out to you the most?

JM: I love the title of this award. MMA needs more tie-ins with English singer-songwriter James Blunt. We could go ahead and retitle the Krazy Horse Fisty to the You’re Beautiful Fisty and it would be basically the same thing. Just saying.

Anyway, I’m going off the menu here and I’m giving it to Fighter of the Year Sharabutdin Magomedov for his first aforementioned methodical annihilation of the Yakub Kediev’s innards (see above).

It’s not just the one shot that kills Kediev, it’s the way he simply cannot stop what’s happening to his guts, no matter how hard he tries. Other people kneed/kicked/punched livers harder this year but no one hit them more.

Honorable Mention

Ewelina Wozniak vs. Samin Kamal Beik

Anthony Laurent vs. Karim Younes

Satrudin Vakhidov vs. Roman Gnezdilov

Islam Rakhmatov vs. Ruslan Sleptsov

Varun Sunder vs. Scott Erikson

Antonio Ramirez vs. Jesus Juarez

Ilya Sukonnikov vs. Ruslan Betsenaev

Aorigele vs. Aerdake Apaer

Best Knee KO (The I Want You To Want Me, I Knee’d You To Knee Me Fisty)

Vincent Colonel

AL: Vincent Colonel’s award-winning knee knockout really deserves Fight of the Year consideration as well, but let’s give this finish its own section here so we can truly appreciate just how wild it was.

JM: Oh yeah, that was a WILD bit of scrappery right there, somewhat undercut by the horrendous technique but still, for sure FOTY contender. If only it hadn’t ended in such a Cheap Trick for the KO (not my best, but I’m trying).

AL: It worked! That’s a bar.

Our runner-ups are a couple of beautifully timed knees from Sheyk-Akhmat Tokaev and Eduard Evdokimov that undoubtedly made would-be wrestlers think about changing their entire approach to fighting.

Bonus points to Tokaev for the sportsmanship.

JM: Sportsmanship?! That was a blatantly illegal knee to the head of a grounded opponent. Fortunately, since wrestling shouldn’t be allowed in MMA anyway, I’m willing to overlook it. But still, let’s shoot straight for the people.

Honorable Mention

Jeanderson Castro vs. Tyrone Quinn

Murad Umachiev vs. Gadzhimurad Purtiev

Logan Urban vs. Antoine Blassingame

Alastair Volders vs. Jaden Dalrymple

Jeremiah Curtright vs. Omoyele Gonzalez

Roman Akhremchik vs. Vitaliy Yakimenko

Gerardo Fanny vs. Connor Hignett

Best Spinning Move (The We’re Throwin’ Spinning Sh*t Fisty)

Georgy Shakhruramazanov

AL: We are indeed throwing spinning sh*t around here and simply put, nobody had a more beautiful twisting strike than Eagle Fighting Championship’s Georgy Shakhruramazanov:

JM: I mean, nothing much to say here, that’s among the cleanest pieces of spinning and winning we’ve ever seen in these hallowed internet pages.

AL: A close second, and the owner of the year’s best spinning backfist is IMMAF competitor Ayan Tursyn.

The speed with which Tursyn lands that bomb while circling away is astounding. Watch it again. It takes her about a quarter of a second to turn her whole body and unleash that strike.

JM: I’ll be honest, this is a great KO but it suffers because the nature of it means I can’t help but compare it to Sergio Pettis’ incredible Hail Mary comeback over Kyoji Horiguchi in Bellator this year, which finished second on our Knockout of the Year list. I know Bellator is outside the purview of Missed Fists but still, that KO ruled.

Honorable Mention

Anatoliy Moiseev vs. Konstantin Cherednichenko

Benny Bajrami vs. Manuel Klimt

Rustam Fozilov vs. Abboshon Xafizov

Sambet Naimanbayev vs. Yelzhan Aliaskar

Mohamad Osseili vs. Elijas Paknys

Craziest Fall (The Humpty Dumpty Fisty)

Kenny Cockerill vs. Justin Rogers

AL: You never like to see anyone get embarrassed at the end of a fight, but crazy stuff happens when your brain shuts off and that’s unfortunately the fate suffered by countless competitors every year. Two people enter, one person leaves with their dignity mostly intact.

My top choice for the Humpty Dumpty Fall of the Year is Kenny Cockerill making Justin Rogers do the full timber at a Maverick MMA show in September.

JM: This is my favorite award every year and boy did we have some great contenders in 2021. Vincent Colonel’s Knee of the Year could have taken home these honors as well but I have no issue with Rogers’ Flair Flop grabbing the gold medal. The way his body almost does a full cartoon sway before dropping is spectacular.

AL: We’re not going to harp on poor officiating in this year-end feature (and there was plenty to harp on), but a negligent referee definitely played a part in McKenzie Headen’s brutal knockout of Rogers Ramirez.

Ramirez needed to be saved and when he wasn’t, he instinctively grabbed onto the fence, which just made it so that he fell like he was hit by a blow dart when Headen landed the final punch.

JM: Yeesh, I did not need to relive that KO. That one cannot win because it hurts me spiritually that the referee allowed it (it being Ramirez) to go down like that.

Honorable Mention

Kody Steele vs. Keith Ford

Abdul Azim Badakhshi vs. Agshin Babaev

Derek Lambert vs. Curtis Ouellette

Shamil Guseynov vs. Kerim Shamsatov

Brian Hauser vs. Christian Clary

Yuri Neles vs. Antonio Eduardo

Giovanni Lopes vs. Lucas Ferreira

Carlos Martinez vs. Roberto Ballesteros

The Weird, Wild World of Fighting Fisty

AL: Arguably the most prestigious award in all of combat sports, this Fisty goes to the Missed Fists moment that left us the most bewildered, amused, disgusted, downright frightened, and likely some magical combination of all of those emotions.

For me, nothing can beat Khetag Pliev seemingly losing his finger, only to discover that it wasn’t actually lost just bent back into his glove. All of the barf.

The good news is Pliev’s finger was recovered and he’s since retired from fighting to live in peace and get away from this freakshow we call MMA.

Oh wait, that’s not what happened at all. He actually returned to action four months later and lost by third-round knockout to veteran Nah-Shon Burrell. Carry on.

JM: You really pump-faked me there. I was all ready to be excited that Pliev actually listened to what the gods were trying to tell him. Now I’m just bummed.

As for the WWWF Fisty, I think it’s hard to top “Fighter Loses a Finger, Oh Wait, He Doesn’t” (though the Puke Kick is right there). That is extremely MMA and part of why we love this carnival sideshow sport so much. But you know me, there is no world in which we are going to give out an award to the weirdest, coolest, most insane thing ever and I’m not going to bring up my boys, the fellas over at Fight Circus.

We dedicated an entire article to them for Fight Circus 3: Hold My Beer and, as with every Fight Circus event, it was one of the highlights of my MMA year. Yes, it had some problems and yes, Phone Booth Lethwei underwhelmed but even still, the Circus gave us the highest high of the year: Siamese Kickboxing.

AL: Maybe the most surprisingly entertaining combat sports gimmick I’ve had the honor of witnessing.

JM: I mean this with absolute sincerity, watching four grown men split into teams of two and then essentially fight each other one handed was one of my favorite things to happen in sports this year. That takes home the Weird, Wild World of Fighting Award for me, hands down.

AL: And now, to close out a year that felt like it had 26 months, the best of the rest. Stay weird in 2022 everybody!


Zulu being Zulu, always

Slip N’ Slide MMA

What combat sports was missing: health meters

Dagestani basketball, who you got?

The Puke Kick

Mauro Diogo vs. Leonardo Pascoal, the bite and brawl

TKO by alleged death threat

More phone booth fights

Reece Vickerage vs. Craig Schmitz, quality matchmaking


GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAL (disallowed and disqualified)

Referee stops choke with choke

Microphone throw on point

Dude, where’s my cup

Valerie Loreyenko

The Mountain

Bit of a delayed reaction

Ground-and-boop for the win

Cage breaks

Adventures in ring announcing

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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