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.
When it comes to illegal knees in MMA, sometimes it feels like fighters can’t win. In the UFC, we’ve had a pair of high-profile incidents in the past two years where the recipients of grounded knees handled the situations completely differently and both received criticism.
Anthony Smith took an illegal knee from Jon Jones at UFC 235 that resulted in a two-point deduction for Jones, which didn’t matter in the end as Jones was so far ahead on the scorecards that he won a unanimous decision. Should Smith have considered accepting a disqualification victory to take Jones’ title and set up a lucrative rematch? Or should he have been applauded for his warrior spirit? Then Aljamain Sterling became bantamweight champion after taking a blatantly illegal knee from Petr Yan at UFC 259 and he’s had fans calling for him to win an Academy Award ever since.
It’s a lose-lose situation for the fighter on the receiving end of the knee, right? Marquel Fulwood-Jones is here to prove that wrong.
Marquell Fulwood-Jones vs. Brandon Calton
In a clash of super heavyweights at Showcase MMA 23 in Kingsport, Tenn., this past Saturday, Fulwood-Jones took on recent Bellator competitor Brandon Calton, who fans might remember from his split decision loss to AEW star Jake Hager.
Sure enough, Calton had the same lapse in concentration as Jones and Yan, blasting Fulwood-Jones with a brutal knee on the ground that would have scored him major points if this fight was taking place at Saitama Super Arena and not the Meadowview Convention Center.
Here's the illegal knee Calton landed on Fulwood-Jones. MFJ could've taken the DQ win here. Instead, he kept going and finished Calton. What a crazy, crazy ending! pic.twitter.com/BhSzpUnjD9— Spectation Sports (@SpectationNet) January 16, 2022
It’s difficult to say just how much that knee actually hurt Fulwood-Jones, but in my not-expert medical opinion it’s usually a bad sign when a fighter goes fully prone in the middle of a fight. Believe it or not, Fulwood-Jones decided to continue and the foul only cost Calton a single point.
Moments later, this happened.
Ya'll, that was BONKERS. Brandon Calton crushed Marquell Fulwood-Jones with an illegal knee. Instead of taking the DQ win, Fulwood-Jones decided to continue....and then THIS happened. pic.twitter.com/mSIt8J4VoZ— Spectation Sports (@SpectationNet) January 16, 2022
A weird beginning to the end of the fight, for certain, but Calton would not recover from that slip-up and Fulwood-Jones actually went on to get the finish. He later admitted that there was some luck involved in his wild come-from-behind win.
“The mat is real slippery and I guess he slipped,” Fulwood-Jones told the Johnson City Press. “You can’t slip on me. It was pretty crazy. He was way more athletic than what I gave him credit for. I’m getting out of this super heavyweight division. These boys are too big.”
Even though it sounds like Fulwood-Jones is planning to drop down to heavyweight (that’s a strange sentence to type), I’m still hoping that the UFC adds super heavyweights to the roster someday. Do it, Dana White, you coward.
Showcase MMA 23 is available for replay with a subscription to Spectation Sports.
Rinya Nakamura vs. Yasuyuki Nojiri
While we’re talking knees (as we often do around these parts), we had a failed one of the “Gamebred” variety this past Sunday at a Shooto event in Tokyo. At least I think that’s what this was supposed to be.
Listen, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take (h/t Michael Scott), but in MMA sometimes taking that shot means you end up taking a shot if you get what I’m saying. In this instance, Yasuyuki Nojiri got popped right in the chin going for something spectacular and ended up getting finished in under 30 seconds by Rinya Nakamura.
It’s worth noting that Nakamura, 26, is one to watch in the bantamweight division. He improved to 3-0 with the win, all by knockout (you may remember him displaying some fine head-kickery in a previous edition of Missed Fists), and has a strong wrestling base. Nakamura had hoped to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but when that event was pushed back a year due to COVID-19, Nakamura instead decided to retire from wrestling and fully dedicate himself to MMA. Good luck, young man.
Anvar Boynazarov vs. John Pham
When it comes to former Glory kickboxing featherweight contender Anvar Boynazarov, you may want to save your well-wishes for his former opponents. He showed zero mercy to John Pham at LFA 121 in Dallas last week.
That 21-second shellacking improved Boynazarov’s MMA record to 3-0, but unlike Nakamura he has plenty of professional fighting experience. In fact, he holds a Glory kickboxing win from 2015 over UFC Vegas 46 headliner Giga Chikadze and after beating Pham he called for another fight with the Georgian standout. Chikadze is currently on the mend for an indeterminate amount of time and it’s doubtful he’d want to risk his top-10 ranking against a UFC newcomer, but stranger things have happened.
Michal Materla vs. Jason Radcliffe
Gracjan Szadzinski vs. Francesco Moricca
Donovan Desmae vs. Lukasz Rajewski
While it would be nearly impossible for KSW to match the drama of their December event, which concluded with Roberto Soldic putting the legendary Mamed Khalidov to sleep to become a two-division champion, Saturday’s KSW 66 show had some beautiful finishes.
Polish star Michal Materla made it back-to-back wins with a perfectly timed overhand right that stunned veteran Jason Radcliffe.
Make that four wins in his past five outings for Materla, who also recorded his 24th victory by knockout or submission.
Gracjan Szadzinski also added to his knockout tally, putting Francesco Moricca down for the count with two power punches right on the button.
In 13 pro bouts, Szadzinski has gone to a decision five times while all of his other fights have ended before the third round. That’s the kind of fighter we can get behind.
The week’s best submission belonged to Donovan Desmae who wrapped up Lukasz Rajewski with a triangle armbar that led to a quick tap.
KSW 66 is available for replay with a subscription to KSW TV.
Padeksuk Fairtex vs. Mohamed Mohadbe
Our last highlighted strike of this feature would have led the show if it had actually resulted in a finish, instead this extraordinary tornado kick by Mohamed Mohadbe will have to settle for a most honorable mention.
THIS JUST HAPPENED! WHAT A KICK! pic.twitter.com/RJfa9Qs1ob— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) January 16, 2022
What a crazy back-and-forth brawl between Padeksuk and Mohamed Mohabde! The Moroccan almost pulls off the comeback with an insane tornado kick. pic.twitter.com/8wTOrhBqrx— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) January 16, 2022
As you can see from this clip recap posted by @Beyond_Kick (give them a follow!), the fight was pure chaos with shocking knockdowns on both sides. It was Padeksuk that eventually scored the final one to win the war, even if Mohadbe can lay claim to the social media battle after landing that kick.
Many of the replies noted the similarities between Mohadbe’s tornado kick and Kofi Kingston’s “Trouble in Paradise” signature maneuver and sure enough, the former WWE champion took a moment to recognize game.
That highlight came from Sunday’s Lumpinee Fairtex Fight: New Era event in Thailand, which is available for free replay on Facebook.
And while your eyes are on that Twitter account, why not take a look at Ciryl Gane’s previous muay Thai exploits that were uploaded this week?
Cyril Gane (Hurricane Fighting 3) pic.twitter.com/m0QoAmIvmG— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) January 18, 2022
Cyril Gane vs Yassine Boughanem (Duel 2) pic.twitter.com/RHlF4pcqyY— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) January 19, 2022
Unsurprisingly, “Bon Gamin” has always been an absolute beast and he’s one day away from possibly completing his ascent to undisputed heavyweight king. Should he take out Francis Ngannou, just remember that Gane has always had a home here in Missed Fists.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Marquell Fulwood-Jones goes for KO, not DQ
Rinya Nakamura stuffs wannabe Masvidal
Anvar Boynazarov calls out Giga Chikadze after quick knockout
Donovan Desmae’s triangle armbar
Mohamed Mohadbe’s flying tornado kick
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.