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Missed Fists: Head kick highlights, a Cage Warriors thriller, more

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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’re focusing mainly on finishes, some featuring kicks to the head and others that will leave you scratching your head. We’ll also be talking about a three-round thriller from Cage Warriors, but first we check in on a ONE Championship side project.

Saharat Kongsawat vs. Muhammad Adib Sulaiman

AL: We regularly cover ONE in this feature and this time we’re focusing on the ONE Warrior Series, a show hosted by former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. The idea is that Franklin will scour Asia to find top MMA prospects, with the best fighters earning $100,000 contracts.

You can check out an episode here and see Franklin dish out hard truths to some ONE hopefuls:

Last Thursday, the Season 2 series finale was held in a small venue in Singapore and the whole event can be watched via YouTube:

JM: Do you know the best thing about the Warrior Series? They held a FIFTEEN-fight event in under three hours! Meanwhile the UFC took up the entirety of your Sunday to watch 13 mostly mediocre bouts. Someone needs to get Franklin linked back up with the UFC so he can teach them a thing or two about pacing.

AL: Please, don’t remind me. I’m still recovering.

While I’m not going to say that the Warrior Series fighters are anywhere near the caliber of those that competed at UFC Hamburg, it’s always refreshing to see young, hungry athletes putting it all out there in the hopes of catching the eye of Franklin. That was definitely the case with Saharat Kongsawat (whose bout can be seen at the 1:36:30 mark of the above link), who fought through some frustrating moments to pull out a big finish.

JM: By now you know that I’m a sucker for working the body. Show me someone who puts a guy through the ropes from a knee to the midsection and I’m all in a tizzy.

AL: It looked to me like his opponent, Muhammad Adib Sulaiman, became a little too predictable with his takedown attempts and Kongsawat decided he’d had enough and just demolished his midsection. Sulaiman went down like he got popped by the proverbial invisible sniper.

JM: Speaking of invisible sniper, there’s a fight from the undercard of Cage Warriors 95 that I really want to discuss with you: Adam Amarasinghe vs. Aaron Laleye.

Adam Amarasinghe vs. Aaron Laleye

JM: Check out this finish and tell me what you think. I really don’t want to cast aspersions on anyone but, uhhhhhh, this is weird.

AL: You know a finish is an odd one when the commentators are taking noticeable pauses during the replay, making sure to be delicate with their language. That’s not to take anything away from Amarsinghe, who was being touted as having one-punch KO power at 125 pounds, but this maybe wasn’t the best example of his finishing ability.

JM: Or it was the best example. If lightly hooking a dude on the temple explodes his brain, Amarasinghe may indeed have cartoonish finishing ability.

Mason Jones vs. Konmon Deh

JM: Moving on, while that was a weird fight, Saturday’s Cage Warriors card in London also had a number of great scraps, highlighted by a lightweight fight between Mason Jones vs. Konmon Deh. Jones got his hand raised in the end but I almost left that fight more impressed with how wily Deh was.

AL: The story here was how the more experienced Deh would deal with the undefeated Jones and as you said, while this might have been set up as a showcase for Jones, both men came out looking impressive.

Jones subscribes to the philosophy of throwing oblique kicks early and often, and he nearly ended this fight in round one with a beautifully timed kick that caused Deh’s leg to badly buckle. Deh recovered in between rounds and the action ramped up in the second period. The grappling skill of Jones was evident, but Deh just scrambled and pushed through to get out of bad positions, it was amazing.

JM: The second round of this fight is easily the most fun thing that happened in MMA this weekend (unless you’re a relative of Anthony Smith, I guess). There’s a sequence where Jones latches on a back crucifix, transitions to a triangle, then to kimura, and finally to an armbar before Deh eventually escapes. And the kimura attempt is fully locked in! Deh just kinda says, “Not today, Satan” and guts his way out of it. Absolutely thrilling stuff.

AL: Deh has got heart, but Jones, just 23, has serious skills and it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes a breakout star for Cage Warriors in the next year.

The Cage Warriors 95 prelims can be viewed for free on their Facebook page and the main card is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.

Movsar Evloev vs. Rafael Dias

JM: Our next stop is M-1 Challenge 95, where Movsar Evloev defended his bantamweight title against Rafael Dias in a fun encounter with a truly horrifying ending.

Evloev and Dias had a competitive bout for 20 minutes, with Dias coming close to sinking in a choke on Evloev on multiple occasions. At the beginning of the fifth round though, the champ clocked Dias with an overhand right and, well, take a look.

AL: It’s a shame that such a crisp, clean KO will be remembered more for this referee’s inexplicable decision making than the actual result. Credit to Evloev for successfully defending his bantamweight title and a Spotlight of Shame on referee Viktor Korneev for not protecting Dias.

There’s giving a fighter every chance to recover and then there’s being negligent in your duties.

JM: I honestly thought the fight would be stopped immediately, considering the way Dias fell. But as it went on and Evloev keeps hammering Dias’ head into the canvas I just got more and more confused. I have no idea what Korneev was doing but my best guess is that Dias owes him money because that was entirely unnecessary.

AL: There was no such controversy on an earlier prelim bout between Edward Massy and Mate Sanikidze, which brings us to our next round of America’s favorite game show, Who Kicked it Better?

Edward Massey vs. Mate Sanikidze
Kailin Hill vs. Alex Thompson

AL: Our first contestant, Massey, hails from Clarksville, Tenn., and he traveled all the way to the M-1 show in Nazran, Ingushetia, Russia, to bring Georgia’s Sanikidze a hellacious head kick KO.

JM: He kicked it better. I don’t even need to see the other contestants. Sanikidze’s body just imploded by from getting kicked in the head. He got KO’d by the kick and kneed himself in the face as a result! That’s gotta be the winner.

AL: We have to give our next contestant a chance, this kick coming courtesy of Puerto Rico’s own Kailan Hill. The middleweight improved to 2-0 with this shutdown shot against Alex Thompson.

JM: So many dude’s got deaded over the weekend. If we’re going on a purely power standpoint, Hill wins by virtue of being a middleweight whereas Massey is a bantamweight. But if we’re just comparing aesthetic violence, I still favor Massey’s KO. You can see the light leave Thompson’s eyes as he falls whereas Sanikidze crumbled like he was a high-rise building being demolished.

AL: Congrats Edward Massey for being this week’s winner, Jed will treat you to a shoey the next time you’re in his neck of the woods.

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AL: Also from Friday’s LFA show, the main event saw the mercurial Erick Silva competing outside of the UFC for the first time since 2010 and the outcome was as Erick Silva as ever. Facing Nick Barnes, an LFA standout who has repeatedly been matched up with UFC-level fighters only to fall just short, the stage was set for chaos and what we got was a one-round fight that ended in just that:

JM: Good for Silva. The guy has always had a reputation as a frontrunner and here he showed a glimpse of why people were so high on him several years ago. Rolling up on an armbar to get a win is good jiu-jitsu, doing it after having your brains scrambled just a few seconds earlier is great jiu-jitsu.

AL: He keeps this up and he’ll always have a home on Missed Fists.


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.




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