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.
A personal note: Before falling under the whimsical spell of combat sports, my first passion was basketball and to this day it’s still the No. 1 sport I watch during my leisure time.
Never did I think that two of my favorite things would ever be blended in such an imaginative way, but thanks to the beautiful minds of Kazakhstan’s Naiza Fighting Championship promotion, enlightenment has finally been achieved.
(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.)
This “Chocolate Thunder Flying, Glass Flying, Robinzine Crying, Babies Crying, Glass-Still-Flying, Cats Crying, Rump Roasting, Bun Toasting, Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam” has been making the rounds on social media, but before we give it the official Missed Fists stamp of approval, let’s dig a little deeper into what we’re watching here.
The full Batyr Ball tournament is available for free replay on YouTube:
Right from the opening match (where that viral dunk comes from), I get the sense that this isn’t some new thing? They seem to be running plays, at least early on, like coordinated moving screens and pick-and-pop plays to get guys open, that kind of thing. So if I’ve been missing out on what can only be described as a phenomenon, then I am filled with regret.
As far as the rules go, it’s three-on-three, grappling only (you can punch the ball, just not the other players’ faces), there’s no dribbling, and there is a line you have to clear (that also serves as a 2-point line) if you recover a miss from the other team so no cheapies around the basket. It’s not dissimilar to Dagestani basketball, except this is so much more fast paced and about 50,000 times more entertaining.
And I do mean fast paced. Fortunately, each team has one sub and each match is comprised of only two rounds (the clock initially shows that they’re three-minute rounds, but the on-screen graphic later disappears and it’s unclear how long the rounds actually are) because this looks like the most exhausting sport I’ve ever seen.
The shooting isn’t great, at least not in the first match, but some of the teams have serious snipers and in the later matches you can tell fatigue dictates a lot of the shot selection. So just like basketball, sometimes success just comes down to stepping up and knocking down Js.
The glass-breaking dunk? It happens with the score tied 1-1 in the very first match of the night and amazingly, this doesn’t shut the whole show down. They do need 30 minutes to clear the glass and bring in a replacement net, which is definitely positioned higher (perhaps to discourage dunking) and looks like it has a plexiglass or plastic backboard. Points for preparation!
Other random notes:
- One guy on the Erkin Kush keeps trying to Showtime push off the fence
- There are free throws for what I’m guessing is “roughing,” though how that’s defined is impossible to tell
- The scorekeepers struggled to keep the score updated
- Results were all over the place: some were back-and-forth shootouts, some were blowouts, some were just rock fights
- The eight-team tournament ended with Motivator Team facing Takhtai Team in the final
- Just like in most sports, gritty defense and timely scoring won the day as Motivator claimed the championship and a giant novelty check for 2,000,000 tenge (approx. $4,300 USD) by a score of 6-2
- The final match also featured some highlight-reel slams, like players trying out dunks at the end of the NBA All-Star game
- Again, Batyr Ball > Dagestani Basketball, obviously
I can’t recommend watching the full show enough, it’s a blast. And before your brain starts churning, I’ll also strongly recommend against trying this one at home.
Jhonata Diniz vs. Guilherme Lazzarini
Diego Silva vs. Caique Luko
Speaking of sports crossovers, Glory kickboxers have had mixed results in the UFC, with Alex Pereira presenting the best-case scenario with a world title win out of nowhere, while other notables like Gokhan Saki have stumbled especially when matched up with Khalil Rountree.
Perhaps Imortal FC’s Jhonata Diniz will be the one to chop Rountree down some day.
He definitely made Guilherme Lazzarini go timber this past weekend.
Earlier on the card, journeymen Diego Silva and Caique Luko were matched up, two fighters with a combined 20-23 record. Silva had never gone to a decision and Luko entered the bout with eight career knockout losses. You do the math.
Salute to both of these fighters for doing what they’re paid to do: Go in and throw haymakers for the people.
You can catch a free replay of Imortal FC 11 yourself on YouTube.
Nilson Rojas vs. Miguel Angel Fierro
Let’s head to Chile for a look at our first under-25 prospect of the week, Nilson Rojas, who scored an incredible one-shot knockout at Fusion FC 55.
Rojas, 23, is now 5-0 and certainly one to keep an eye on. As is the young man featured in our next highlight.
Fabrizio Escarrega vs. Jose Luis Rios
Sergio Sanchez vs. Gustavo Torres
At a Naciones MMA event in Tijuana, Fabrizio Escarrega finished Jose Luis Rios with a furious combination.
Escarrega, 24, is also 5-0, though let’s hope he gets a step up in competition after taking out an opponent who was on a three-fight losing streak.
It’s definitely too early to tell if Sergio Sanchez is any kind of prospect, but who cares when you catch a knockout like this in your pro debut?
Look at Sanchez just telling Gustavo Torres to bring it on... and it actually works out for him!
Juan Alvarez vs. Ricardo Arreola
While we’re in Mexico, let’s take a quick flight over to Monterrey to admire Juan Alvarez’s awesome comeback knockout of Ricardo Arreola.
That’s your “Call The Ambulance, But Not For Me” award winner this week. In Missed Fists, we talk a lot about how one day you’re the hammer, the next you’re the nail, but it’s rare we see a fighter be the nail and then turn into the hammer int he same fight.
Lux Fight League 28 is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.
Jan Quaeyhaegens vs. Erick da Silva
Milton Afonso Cabral vs. Paddy Wilkinson
Rafael do Nascimento vs. Justin Wetzell
Also on Fight Pass, we had a trio of memorable knockouts from recent Cage Warriors and LFA events.
Jan Quaeyhaegens busted up Erick da Silva’s face and likely a few headphones with this extremely loud knee knockout in London.
Meanwhile, Milton Alfonso Cabral channeled the spirit of Cro Cop with this looping head kick that sent Paddy Wilkins crashing down.
At LFA 147 in Sloan, Iowa, Rafael do Nascimento was in the co-main event but they may as well have shut down the show after he finished Justin Wetzell with a gorgeous combination.
That’s all for this week, but ICYMI make sure that you check out Islambek Baktybek Uulu’s perfectly timed — and perfectly legal — soccer kick knockout from Octagon 37 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
But wait, there’s more!
If you hadn’t heard, a white hot prospect made his amateur debut at a Tuff–N-Uff event in Las Vegas this past weekend: The Mac Life’s own Oscar Willis!
Oscar Willis vs. Jeremiah Benavidez
In a truly entertaining three-round fight that featured plenty of the mixing of the martial arts, MMA media member Willis prevailed via a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 scores. While not quite as dominant as our own E. Casey Leydon a.k.a. “Mr. 30-24,” it was still an impressive debut for Willis and a fight that he and his opponent should both be proud of.
And don’t forget the cameo appearance by the esteemed José Youngs of MMA Fighting.
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.