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.
Sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves that a fighter doesn’t just cease to exist once they part ways with the UFC, even if they don’t immediately move to another notable promotion. Our first two clips feature heavyweights experiencing both sides of the coin in their post-octagon lives.
(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.)
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Tagir Dzoblaev
Seventy-nine. That’s how many pro MMA fights Aleksei Oleinik has been in, including a 17-fight run with the UFC. Rather than go for No. 80, the master of the Ezekiel choke decided to strap on the big boy gloves and step into the boxing ring for the first time since he began fighting in 1996 (!).
It went really well!
46yo UFC vet Aleksei Oleinik made his boxing debut yesterday and won by R1 TKO pic.twitter.com/Hn0rlkIbJw— Matysek (@Matysek88) August 27, 2023
When we last saw the Oleinik, 46, he was on the wrong end of a brutal knockout at the hands of fellow MMA lifer Oli Thompson. That took place at a regional event in Russia and was Oleinik’s fifth loss in six fights, which included four losses near the end of his UFC career.
This homecoming was far more positive for Oleinik as he needed just 34 seconds to put away Tagir Dzoblaev, throwing in a mean staredown for good measure. Oleinik has an extraordinary 47 submission wins to his name, but perhaps he should have been swangin’ and bangin’ all along?
After seeing this clip, “The Boa Constrictor” has first dibs on the Fury-Ngannou winner, methinks.
Remember what I said about UFC fighters not just disappearing when they don’t have those three letters next to their name anymore? In Jared Vanderaa’s case, maybe it would be better if he had taken a step back from competition.
At a Lights Out Xtreme Fighting event in Pauma Valley, Calif., this past weekend, Vanderaa ran headfirst into Chuck Campbell; more accurately, headfirst into Campbell’s fists, resulting in Vanderaa being put out cold on the canvas.
It’s been a tough go for Vanderaa, who put together a truly strange 1-6 record with the UFC before leaving the promotion this past October. That run included losses to Waldo Cortes-Acosta, Alexandr Romanov, UFC Paris headliner Serghei Spivac, and, of course, the aforementioned Oleinik.
On the other side of it, Campbell improves to 6-3 (1 NC) as a pro and has already competed for Bellator, the PFL, Cage Warriors, and Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat. Heavyweight is such a strange world, man.
You can watch a replay of LXF 10 with a subscription to fuboTV.
Luis Escudero vs. Juan Campos
I’m a fan of improv. For the most part. We’ve all seen bad improv before. it starts off vaguely compelling with performers asking the audience for scene suggestions and then it eventually breaks down into someone doing a terrible Borat impression (not that I’m above terrible Borat impressions). The point is that we all know the difference between good improv and bad improv.
This was good improv.
At an Ultimate Warrior Challenge event in Tijuana, Luis Escudero made the best of an awkward situation after Juan Campos caught his kick. Escudero decided to immediately transition into a flying armbar, which is probably ill-advised 98 percent of the time, but in this instance worked beautifully as he found the submission.
It probably helps that Campos isn’t exactly the, uh, sturdiest competition (10-17 record with 13 losses by KO/submission), but let’s not spoil this moment.
UWC 47 is available for replay with a subscription to UFC Fight Pass.
Zewang vs. Yedeli Wulazibieke
Escudero would be the runaway leader for style points this week were it not for China’s Zewang. I still give the edge to Escudero, but this high kick and bow combo? A very, very, very close second.
We’ve seen this hundreds of times, but I never get tired of the “body kick to set up a high kick” sequence, especially when it’s as effective as this. Yedeli Wulazibieke’s hands are nowhere near where they need to be when Zewang flicks his leg up and the results are truly spectacular.
A free replay of this World Kings Glory & M-1 Global co-promoted event is available on YouTube.
Jung Seung-Ho vs. Kim Young-Hoon
Han Yoon-Soo vs. Son Jae-Min
And that might not even be our best kick knockout of the week!
Over in Anyang, South Korea, Jung Seung-Ho and Kim Young-Hoon unloaded both barrels before Jung destroyed Kim with a front kick.
Technique-wise, everything about this knockout sequence feels so wrong and yet so right. The Korean Zombie should be proud of these two.
One fight earlier, Han Yoon-Soo sent Son Jae-Min a fun trip with a blistering right hand.
Wish this KO had happened in the SmartCage so we could get a “distance traveled” stat.
Robert Maruszak vs. Damian Bujkowski
Then again, does Robert Maruszak have that beat?
At Fight Exclusive Night 49 in Mragowo, Poland, Maruszak sent Damian Bujkowski on a painful journey with a sweet left hook on the money. According to Tapology, Bujkowski is listed at 6-foot-8 so that is a long way to go down.
Daiki Mine vs. Kaito Kimoto
Then we have Daiki Mine, who sent Kaito Kimoto on a different kind of trip at a Pancrase event in Tokyo.
Look at how Kimoto’s head pops back. This punch had this man seeing heaven.
If we’re counting distance traveled on the astral plane, then Mine wins this competition by several miles.
Anthony Chung vs. Brian Ritchie
Kelvin Bowen vs. Loai Abushaar
Up next, we have a pair of amateur highlights from Ringside Unified Fighting in Phoenix.
In that first clip, Anthony Chung needed just 22 seconds to crack Brian Ritchie with a pair of punches that face-planted him. In the second clip, Kelvin Bowen showed everyone a fun way to get around an opponent’s jab.
Afrim Thaqi vs. Tobias Bohlin
Zipping over to Allstars Fight Night 2 in Solna, Sweden, we have to show some love to Afrim Thaqi for this lovely triangle and armbar combination submission.
This is just a pleasure to watch. Thaqi works through his progressions, calmly advances, goes from a crucifix attempt into the triangle, and then secures the arm for the finish.
Maraoune Bellagouit vs. Abdi Farah
Check out that hand speed from Maraoune Bellagouit.
As much as we all love some good graps, there’s also something to be said about firing up a right hand and blasting off.
Watch that again. No wasted motion, just sheer accuracy and impact.
UAE Warriors 43 is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.
Nyamjargal Tumendemberel vs. Peter Danesoe
While you’re there, check out the semifinals of the second Road to UFC (not to be confused with Road FC) tournament, highlighted by this nasty Nyamjargal Tumendemberel choke.
Tumendemberel goes by the nickname “Art of Knockout” and he lived up to that, even if it wasn’t in the way one would expect.
It should be noted that this was not a flyweight semifinal bout (the winners of those fights were China’s Jiniushiyue and Japan’s Rei Tsuruya). Even so, you have to imagine the undefeated Tumendemberel is on reserve duty and likely only one or two good performances away from a UFC contract of his own.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Aleksei Oleinik fists of fury
Luis Escudero improv flying armbar
Zewang high kick setup
Daiki Mine sends Kaito Kimoto on a spiritual journey
Other (leave comment below)
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.