Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where Jed Meshew and Alexander K. Lee 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.
This week, we have one of the nastiest knockouts of the year, the usual bevy of highlights from ONE Championship, and the stiffest challenge yet for boxing star Claressa Shields.
JM: You’ve gotta feel good for Brendan Allen who in a short time has already developed somewhat of a “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” kind of feel to his career. “All In” has twice fought for the Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight title and twice come up short, both times to guys who have gone on to be signed by the UFC: Eryk Anders and Anthony Hernandez, the latter of whom just got picked up off of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Allen only 22 but that type of thing can weigh on a young fighter’s mind and it’s good to see the Roufusport product seems to be taking those losses in stride.
AL: Allen is definitely far from a finished product, which is scary when you consider how Friday’s fight ended. As mentioned, his LFA main event opportunities have not gone his way, and he had to be hoping that the third time would be a charm when he stepped into the cage in Beaumont, Texas for Saturday’s LFA 43 headliner.
He went 25 minutes with Anders and Hernandez, which probably made him overqualified for Larry Crowe. Bless his heart, the hard-charging Crowe did all he could to hunt for an upset knockout, but typically doesn’t end well when you’re facing a superior striker and this might be the best/worst case example of that.
We overuse the phrase “shut down” to describe KOs, but I can’t think of a more apt description of this finish. You might say that the poor guy became a “ScareCrowe” after taking that shot to the temple.
JM: I hate you as much as I love that little check hook from Allen.
Danny Kingad vs. Haobin Ma
Kai Wen Li vs. Rodian Menchavez
Yukinori Ogasawara vs. Rui Botelho
AL: Up next is our three-rounder of the week, a battle between Danny Kingad of the Phillipines and China’s own Haobin Ma, which took place at ONE Championship: Pinnacle of Power in Beijing on Saturday.
This is the kind of fight you want to see between two young overseas prospects. Both fighters looked comfortable on the mat and striking from distance, and they displayed moments of explosiveness as well. Late in the third round, Kingad managed to slip out of bottom position and just power his way into a sweep. Shortly after, Ma answered with sweep of his own.
Kingad looked great, but Ma was with him every step of the way in this one. Fun fight!
JM: Kingad-Ma was absolute insanity. Full confession, I haven’t watch UFC Singapore yet. But even so, I struggle to believe there was a better, more action-packed fight on that card than this ONE prelim offering. Thoee two threw down for 15 minutes, with wild scrambles, legit submission attempts, aggressive hand-throwing, and dueling cup checks.
What more could you ask for?
AL: A rematch, perhaps?
I suppose Kingad could also have provided us with a finish, but there were plenty of those on the card already.
In the very next fight, Kai Wen Li decided he wasn’t having any of that scorecard BS:
JM: Gotta feel bad for Rodian Menchavez. He spent all that time training only to get knocked out in 10 seconds. It’s a brutal sport we love.
AL: It only gets more brutal. After that, Yukinori Ogasawara capped off the preliminary portion of the card with a stunning spinning back elbow KO:
JM: I would love to talk about this fight but since it’s a Muay Thai fight, I’m not allowed to. We’re an MMA column!
AL: You’re going to love this last entry then.
JM: If I were to discuss it though, I’d note that Ogasawara was getting comboed on before countering with that back elbow, which is wild and awesome.
AL: The entirety of ONE: Pinnacle of Power can be watched for free on their YouTube channel.
Claressa Shields vs. Hanna Gabriels
AL: We certainly don’t pretend to be boxing experts around here, but you didn’t need to be Chris Eubank to appreciate this slobberknocker between Claressa Shields and Hanna Gabriels. Shields is probably at least somewhat familiar to MMA fans due to her friendship with Cris Cyborg, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist is a household name in her own right.
Her star is rising with every performance and she had the opportunity on Saturday to drop down to the female middleweight division (160-pounds) and capture a pair of vacant titles in Detroit. Hanna Gabriels, a light middleweight champion moving up a division, did not make things easy for her.
JM: Speak for yourself. I’ve been following boxing longer than I have MMA.
AL: I feel like we should talk more.
JM: And while I refuse to speak about Muay Thai in this sacred column, I am always more than happy to talk about the sweet science, even when that science is dumb because it has world class athletes competing for only two-minute rounds instead of three minutes because blatant sexism.
Anyway, Shields-Gabriels was an incredibly fun fight, made even more interesting by Gabriels dropping the heavy favorite in the opening round. After that, the outcome was never really in doubt but Gabriels proved game and certainly made it thrilling in parts.
AL: I expected this to be a showcase for Shields, but the early knockdown (the first of Shields’s six-fight pro career) changed the whole complexion. Suddenly, the story became about Shields regaining her composure and finding her rhythm, which she was able to do after the early rounds even with Gabriels trying to drag her into a brawl. The exchanges in this one were absurdly fast, yet Shields managed to repeatedly find Gabriels’s chin in the chaos.
If you missed this one, you’ll have to wait for a replay to pop up on Showtime Sports ahead of Shields’s next title defense, which is all but guaranteed to be against Germany’s Christina Hammer.
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 @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee using the hashtag #MissedFists.