clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Missed Fists: Referee catches knocked out fighter before he hits the ground

Matias Paganini falls into the arms of referee Luis Garavaglia at a United Fighting Series event in Buenos Aires on Aug. 7, 2022
@Barrelelapierna, 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.

Referees have a tough gig and while those of us in the media are as critical as anyone of their work, we also like to dole out the praise when it’s well-earned.

So for your excellent work this past week, Luis Garavaglia, we salute you.

(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.)

Brayan Montero vs. Matias Paganini

From an amateur bout at a United Fighting Series event in Buenos Aires, this is a pretty great knockout clip in its own right. Brayan Montero corners opponent Matias Paganini and crushes him with a 1-2 on the money to end the fight in a little over a minute.

But we definitely want to credit Garavaglia (h/t to Tapology for the referee ID) for this lovely catch of Paganini, saving the fighter’s head from bouncing off the canvas, which is one of the worst parts of any KO. True, he had plenty of time to do so with Paganini frozen in time, but we’ve seen plenty of referees do nothing in the same situation so kudos to Garavaglia for the extra effort.

And hey, we can enjoy this week’s Humpty Dumpty Fall of the Week with a little less guilt now.

You can catch a free replay of UFS 15 on YouTube.

Matunga Djikasa vs. Ivan Strydom

It was William Blake who wrote,

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

If there’s any fighter that can relate to “fearful symmetry” right now, it’s Ivan Strydom.

That is a brutal injury suffered by a kick to the knee courtesy of Matunga Djikasa and it’s not the first time Strydom has been in a fight that ended in such a way. In fact, as I was reminded by the ever-wicked Kristen King (who made sure to send me the above clip so that I had to witness it) Strydom’s last fight ended with him scoring a win due to opponent injury.

Shades of the Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman leg-break curse. MMA remains the cruelest game.

As for Djikasa’s behavior here, I don’t mind the hammerfist that much as the referee just kind of takes his time waddling in there. I do take issue with the celebration though. It’s fine to get lost in the moment of a big win, I get that, but it could not be more obvious that Strydom was seriously hurt there. Doing a full-on soccer goal celebration right next to him is questionable, to put it kindly.

Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide events are available for replay with a subscription to

Alvaro Vacacela vs. Jorge Calderon
Alessandro Macedo vs. Alexandre Goncalves

How about a couple of wholesome buzzer beaters to cleanse the palette?

First, from Reto de Campeones 2 in Lima, Peru, here’s Alvaro Vacacela putting Jorge Calderon down with just a second remaining in Round 2.

Vacacela entered this fight with a modest 6-7 record, but as the great Shane Battier once said, “It’s better to be timely than good.”

Over at an Upper Sport Combat event in Rio de Janeiro (free replay available on YouTube), Alessandro Macedo took advantage of an absent-minded Alexandre Goncalves for this last-second finish in the first.

It looks like Goncalves might have relaxed when he heard that 10-second clapper, because moments later he dropped his arms and ended up in a heap.

Azizbek Nematov vs. Muzaffar Nazarov

From an Amir Temur Fighting Championship event in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, we have the latest edition of Adventures in Spamming (and Winning!).

You think Muzaffar Nazarov might have been deterred by that first shin banging off of his head, but he is made of sterner stuff than you or me and he persevered. His perseverance led to him eating another head kick and losing the fight, but still! It’s the principle of the matter.

Ty Mees vs. Jermaine Anthony
Nick Talavera vs. Jota Ninomiya

Let’s talk submissions for a second.

Ty Mees had one of the best of the week, methodically working a Von Flue choke to submit Jermaine Anthony at a Caged Thunder event in Akron, Ohio (replay available via pay-per-view).

Mees gave Anthony every opportunity to let go of his head and when he didn’t, he made him pay. Shout-outs to Cory McKenna, of course, for making history as the first woman ever to finish a fight with a Von Flue in UFC history, but we’ve got to show love to our regional folks.

The other submission that tickled my fancy this week was Nick Talavera’s deceptively simple rear-naked choke of Jota Ninomiya at Legacy Fighting Alliance 138 (replay available on UFC Fight Pass).

Watch how Talavera uses his foot on the cage to keep his balance and hold position. That’s not an easy thing to do and for his efforts he was rewarded with his third submission victory in his first four pro bouts.

Ilay Barzilay vs. Eddie Lamonte

Also on UFC Fight Pass, Jorge Masvidal’s iKON FC promotion held its fourth event and while I’m sure you all saw Malcolm Wellmaker absolutely smoking Langston Sykes, you probably missed Ilay Barzilay’s 22-second knockout of Eddie Lamonte.

In what was both fighters’ pro debut, Barzilay caught Lamonte in an awful position and obliterated him with punches, fortunately getting the attention of referee Jimmy Neely who quickly stepped in for the stoppage. Poor Lamonte got caught with his arm and body trapped in such a way that he was essentially being held up even after he was out.

We started off with some referee love, so let’s give Neely some shine too for a fine stoppage.


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Referee catches a body
    (90 votes)
  • 14%
    Matunga Djikasa’s side kick to the knee
    (26 votes)
  • 9%
    Alvaro Vacacela’s buzzer-beater
    (18 votes)
  • 18%
    Azizbek Nematov spams the kick
    (33 votes)
  • 4%
    Ty Mees’ Von Flue
    (8 votes)
  • 3%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (6 votes)
181 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 – @AlexanderKLee – using the hashtag #MissedFists.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting