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Missed Fists: Fighters wrap up beautiful submissions with kneebars out of nowhere

An Ho secures a kneebar on Enkhjargal Banzaragch at an LFA event on Feb. 10, 2023, in Shawnee, Okla.
@UFCFightPass, 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.

You may not know this about me, but I’m a sucker for a good leg lock. There’s just something about a fighter snatching the limb of their unsuspecting opponent and instantly forcing it into an awful angle that causes my eyes to pop out of my head every time. It feels like it’s something that shouldn’t work in modern MMA given the advances in grappling technique and defense across the board, which makes it extra sweet when it does.

I don’t even particularly enjoy the sight of it. In fact, it’s one of the few visuals in combat sports that consistently causes my stomach to turn. There’s a real horror movie appeal to it.

With that out of the way, join me in savoring this latest human train wreck, won’t 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.)

An Ho vs. Enkhjargal Banzaragch
Justin Budd vs. Caleb Jensen
Demoreo Dennis vs. Trevor Wallace

You’ve got to feel for Enkhjargal Banzaragch. There he was, just trying to work an underhook against the fence when An Ho had to go and get all jiu-jitsu about it.

As soon as Ho snaked his leg in between Banzaragch’s legs, he immediately saw there was an opening to take this one into the danger zone. Watch him control the ankle all the way down as he sets up the kneebar. By the time Banzaragch rolled to his back, it was already over.

At 22 and 3-0, Ho is establishing himself as one of the most thrilling prospects at 125 pounds. If you’re wondering why he celebrated his first submission victory with a kick routine, you must be forgetting that he scored a ridiculous knockout of Matt Barro last July.

Also at LFA 152 (available for replay on UFC Fight Pass), Justin Budd was spinning and winning with an awesome backfist KO.

Going full tornado on the regional scene usually leads to glory or calamity for the daring striker, but in this case we got a little of both as Budd completely whiffs on a kick before clanging the back of his hand across Caleb Jensen’s head. Was it a setup or a happy accident? You be the judge.

We also have to send some love to Demoreo Dennis for this ending.

Sure, the knockout itself wasn’t particularly memorable, but the heavyweight dancing afterwards definitely was.

Jake Pilla vs. Seth Basler
Charalampos Grigoriou vs. Chris Disonell
Mike Bezanson vs. John Bell

We mentioned An Ho as one to watch and that definitely goes for Combat FC’s Jake Pilla as well.

The Massachusetts native added to his already impressive highlight reel this past weekend, locking in a Von Flue choke just 30 seconds into Round 1.

Pilla, 27, is already familiar name around these parts. Last July, he put Josh Krejci away in 25 seconds with a guillotine choke and he also made headlines when he handstand kicked Matt Brady in what would turn out to be his final amateur fight.

In the main event, Charalampos Grigoriou leg kicked his way to a vacant bantamweight title win, chopping Chris Disonell down in brutal fashion.

The official time of the stoppage was 4:01 into Round 5, so you can imagine that this was just a miserable fight for Disonell from bell to bell. It’s like, just punch me in the head next time, bro.

Also at Combat FC 3: Jorts.

The event is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.

Quentin Pasley vs. Jared Turcotte
Stanislov Rakov vs. Hannon Sanford
Miles Emery vs. Cody Dular
Glory Watson vs. Hilarie Rose

Shout out to the New England Fights team for giving me a Twitter heads up to let me know about some of the highlight-reel finishes from their recent show in Bangor, Maine. You want to be in Missed Fists? Just @ me!

A couple of Nick Newell-trained amateur fighters showed out with explosive finishes, as Quentin Pasley claimed a vacant light heavyweight title by punching right through Jared Turcotte, and Stanislov Rakov won via kick upside the head.

In amateur heavyweight action, Miles Emery just swung a meat hammer with all of his strength to take out Cody Dular.

Not exactly Tyson Fury with the boxing there, but it got the job done.

It wasn’t all about the amateurs though as pro strawweight Glory Watson continued to make her case for a call to the big show with this fiery slam into a choke that would make Loma Lookboonmee proud.

Watson beat recent Contender Series hopeful Hilarie Rose to win her fifth straight fight since falling short in her pro debut. Combined with her amateur experience, Watson surely has enough experience to warrant her own Contender Series look soon.

Bruno Azevedo vs. Talekh Gamidov

ONE Championship continues to run smaller shows in between their tentpole events, primarily focused on Muay Thai and kickboxing but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the mixing of the martial arts.

Case in point, here’s Bruno Azevedo clubbing and subbing Talekh Gamidov at a One Friday Fights event in Bangkok (free replay available on YouTube).

That was the best of both worlds for Azevedo, who rocked Gamidov on the feet, transitioned to a submission attack and then got the satisfaction of a knockout anyway. With a successful ONE debut under his belt, Azevedo has now won eight of his past nine fights to improve to 18-3 as a pro.

Arnaldo Moska vs. Ozias Junior

There’s slipping and countering, and then there’s what Arnaldo Moska did to Ozias Junior at a Spartacus MMA event in Sao Paulo.

You might have to run that one back a few times to fully appreciate what Moska did there. Besides punching really hard, Moska perfectly tilted his head back just enough to lure Junior in and leave him exposed to the fight-ending blow. So pretty.

Raphael Silva vs. Gui Carvalho
Jose Gurilozo vs. Victor Hugo Xavier

And while we’re in Sao Paulo, let’s take a ride from the state capital over to Monte Alto, where Standout Fighting Tournament held an event (free replay available on YouTube) that featured MMA, kickboxing, and grappling.

It’s that second sport we’re focused on here as Raphael Silva successfully defended his lightweight kickboxing title with a stunning head kick.

There’s been plenty of discussion this week about how size matters in fights, but forget all the Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski chatter, THIS is an example of how much size matters. Were Silva and Gui Carvalho more evenly matched, that counter kick bruises Carvalho’s ribs; instead, it landed square on the jaw just as Carvalho lunged in for a right hand.

Lastly, I told you we got kneebars this week so you’re getting kneebars.

I don’t know what possessed Jose Gurilozo (and I use “possessed” here deliberately, there’s a good chance that a jiu-jitsu-hungry demon momentarily took over his body) to give up top control and go all out for a kneebar, but good thing he did because that looked fantastic.

This finish occurred with a little over 10 seconds remaining in the first round, so perhaps this was just timely coaching and finishing instincts from Gurilozo. That, or he’s just a bad, bad man who isn’t satisfied with taking rounds. He needs to take limbs.


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    An Ho’s slick kneebar
    (23 votes)
  • 31%
    Justin Budd’s spinning backfist
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    Arnaldo Moska’s gorgeous slip and counter
    (3 votes)
  • 14%
    Raphael Silva’s head kick
    (11 votes)
  • 20%
    Jose Gurilozo’s fast kneebar
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (0 votes)
77 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.

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