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.
Last week, I lamented that it felt like the rest of the combat sports world was off to a slow start even with the UFC’s return and Bellator about to kick off 2023 with one of its best cards in ages. We’re still missing out on some major weirdness (and if I just haven’t seen it, let me know, my DMs are open especially for bizarre MMA things), but I’m pleased to tell you that this week we have an abundance of highlight-reel finishes to savor.
If anything, it’s an overabundance, as any one of our first four clips could have led the show. I’ll let you decide if we picked the right winner.
(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.)
Manolis Kallistis vs. Juan Gonzalez
Anytime someone successfully lands a rolling thunder kick, they’re going to have a *ahem* leg up on the competition and that rule stands for Manolis Kallistis who executed a beauty of a strike at a Fairtex Fight event in Bangkok (free replay available on YouTube).
OH MY GOD. Manolis Kallistis brutally knocks out Juan Gonzalez with a rolling thunder kick at Fairtex Fight (Muay Thai rules). And it was NOT an illegal blow.
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 28, 2023
I have to give Kallistis credit for the kick combination that set this up as it looked like it was just enough to keep Juan Gonzalez guessing and when it came time to defend against the actual threat, Gonzalez guessed wrong. Way wrong. Watch his left hand drop as he tilts to his right to avoid what he thinks is coming, leaving his chin wide open.
I don’t know what’s going on with the English commentary, but thankfully Caposa was right on top of this situation and uploaded the Thai side.
Normally, if I can’t dig up the most basic information about a highlight (like, say, one of the fighter’s names or what a promotion’s initials stand for) I’m reluctant to post it, but Nabi Nabiev’s perfectly timed spin kick knockout from KFL 7 was too good not to include here.
Here’s an alternate angle from Nabiev’s Instagram.
We’ve seen body kicks turn into head shot KOs when a takedown attempt goes horribly wrong before, but this has to be one of the best/worst cases of that scenario that I’ve ever seen.
Bekzhan Matysaev vs. Ali Mashrapov
You want to know how stacked this week was? Bekzhan Matysaev won via teepee choke and he’s in our second-runner up spot. A teepee choke!
According to Tapology, this is marked down as a triangle, but that’s definitely a teepee grip and leg positioning. And a teepee is really a triangle variation, so I guess you’re not wrong either way. But I digress.
Matysaev and Ali Mashrapov battled for a vacant World Ertaymash Federation lightweight title (free replay of this event available on YouTube), so not only did Matysaev crown himself, he did so in style. That’s three straight submission wins now for the Kyrgyz fighter and five straight finishes. In fact, all of his wins have come in the second round or earlier. He’s here for a good time, not a long time.
Joe Perez vs. Drew Lopez
Mark Salinas vs. Nathan Sarpong
Josh Walker vs. Eddie Fraire
Joe Perez just removed a man’s face with his foot and we’re only mentioning him now? Robbery!
The Fury FC 73 prelims featured amateurs in action, which is how we ended up with this incredible knockout as Perez and Drew Lopez just went hammer and tongs looking to leave an impression on the San Antonio crowd. Well, Perez left an impression on Lopez’s face and Lopez left an impression on the mat, so I guess in a way they were both successful?
What do you think? Should Perez have been the Missed Fists lead this week? Vote in the poll at the end, please.
Also on the amateur portion of the card (which is available for free on YouTube), Mark Salinas scored 13-second knockout of Nathan Sarpong.
Swinging right off of the glove touch. A little tricky, but still fair play.
In the main event of the Fury FC 73 (available on UFC Fight Pass), Josh Walker showed how the pros get it done with a fiery flurry ignited by a jumping knee.
Referee probably could have stepped in a couple of seconds sooner there. Walker made sure to keep the foot on the pedal though, earning him the first finish of his seven-fight career.
At BKFC 35 this past weekend, MMA veteran Marcus Brimage made his second bare-knuckle boxing appearance and was sent packing by Trevor Loken.
Brimage came in throwing hands freely as always, but after 40 seconds he was overwhelmed by the heavy-fisted Loken. This was Loken’s first pro fight of any kind after going 5-0 as an amateur in MMA.
As for Brimage, he remains one of the business’ most intriguing journeymen, having been the first UFC opponent of future stars Conor McGregor and Cody Garbrandt as well as one of the standout fighters of a Ultimate Fighter 14 cast that included T.J. Dillashaw, John Dodson, Dennis Bermudez, and Bryan Caraway. Plus he has that Dragon Ball Scouter thing going. Sometimes it’s cool to just be part of history.
Gabriel Santos vs. Jose Delano
Julia Polastri vs. Brenda Gottig
Jonas Bilharinho vs. Caio Machado
Going back to UFC Fight Pass for LFA 151, there was a ton of action to recap as the promotion took a trip to Brazil this past Saturday.
In the main event, Gabriel Santos took out Jose Delano with a nasty body shot to improve to 10-0.
“Mosquitinho” just turned 26 this past November and is now 2-0 in the LFA cage with two finishes. Another name to watch at 145 pounds.
Julia Polastri won a vacant LFA strawweight title in the co-main event with this relentless arm-triangle submission of Brenda Gottig.
That’s three straight wins for Polastri since losing a decision on Dana White’s Contender Series to Jasmine Jasudavicius, who earned a UFC contract off of her performance. The track record of LFA women’s champions getting signed to the UFC is strong, so look for Polastri to join Jasudavicius on the roster soon.
Speaking of Contender Series misses, Jonas Bilharinho was also in action at LFA 151 and he notched a second straight win with a body kick of Caio Machado.
Unlike Polastri, Bilharinho won his Contender Series fight, but he wasn’t signed after he scored a highlight-reel knockout following an uneven outing. The Jose Aldo associate and Conor McGregor fight-a-like called the missed opportunity “beautiful” at the time due to the outpouring of praise he received afterwards.
Is this the year Bilharinho gets that UFC call?
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
Manolis Kallistis’ rolling thunder
Nabi Nabiev’s spin kick
Bekzhan Matysaev’s teepee choke
Joe Perez’s head kick
Other (leave comment below)
26 votes total
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.