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.
Jed is off this week, so you’re flying solo with me as we make what are becoming routine stops at the Professional Fighters League and ONE Championship and cap things off with a visit to a considerably smaller promotion.
Not to be too much of a shill, but by now if you haven’t given the brand spanking new PFL a shot, you’re missing out. The points and playoff system might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but so far the in-cage action has delivered with at least a half-dozen solid finishes on every show. Last Thursday’s PFL 3 show in Washington, D.C. was no different.
All but one of the six welterweight bouts on the card ended before the final bell and the most impressive knockout of the night went to well-traveled Brazilian fighter Joao Zeferino. The 32-year-old has been on the cusp of breaking through for years, having dipped his toes in the UFC, and in the World Series of Fighting against the likes of Jon Fitch and Brian Foster. His opponent Paul Bradley also entered this bout with UFC experience, as well as fights with Yushin Okami in the WSOF, and Alexander Shlemenko in Bellator.
It was Zeferino who would shine on this night. Though he’s known as a submission specialist, Zeferino went absolutely nuts on Bradley here after landing a hard right:
The finish wasn’t unlike Phil Baroni’s classic KO of Dave Menne, though it might be too soon to declare Zeferino “tha best eva”. He’ll have to settle for six points (three for the win, three for finishing in round one) and pole position in the PFL’s welterweight standings alongside Magomed Magomedkerimov.
One friendly note to the PFL: stop trying to make punch velocity a thing.
PFL 3 can be replayed for free on the league’s official Facebook page.
Ibrahim El Bouni vs. Andre Meunier
Moving on to something a little different from ONE Championship. On Saturday, they held their “Battle for the Heavens” show in Guangzhou, China, an event that might seem minor but is a perfect example of how the promotion keeps things fresh in between their more stacked cards. While the MMA portion was headlined by a solid flyweight encounter between Reece McClaren and Tatsumitsu Wada, the actual main event was a women’s kickboxing bout between Yodcherry Sityodtong and. Kai Ting Chuang.
That was one of two kickboxing bouts (there was also a third non-MMA fight on the card, a Muay Thai match), the other being a 231-pound catchweight fight between Ibrahim El Bouni of The Netherlands and Australian Andre “The Giant” Meunier.
These are two tall glasses of water, but what’s great about El Bouni is how comfortable he looks striking from range and up close. Meunier tried to pressure him, which proved to be a huge mistake as El Bouni expertly caught him with counter-shots. He showed good finishing instincts too, hurting Meunier and sending “The Giant” stumbling all the way across the ring.
That kickboxing bout as well as the entire “Battle for the Heavens” event can be replayed for free on the ONE Championship YouTube channel. And make sure to check out their app as well if you want to stream all of their events live.
Luke Santarelli vs. Mehrgan Bijanpoor
Fadimata Amadou vs. Silje Wahl
Let’s wrap up with a quick stop in Birmingham, England, so that we can shine some light on a small show that is listed as having taken place at Edgbaston Stadium, but appears to have been shoved into a dark corner of the venue’s Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Battle Arena 51 was a showcase for Europe’s amateur hopefuls and the preliminaries (free to watch on FITE TV) filled with spirited — if not the most technical — efforts.
The last two fights on the prelims featured two decision winners with a lot of promise, featherweight Luke Santarelli and women’s flyweight Fadimata Amadou.
Santarelli displayed some good all-around skills to pick up an amateur title, but it was Amadou who provided intrigue with her rangy body and impressive aggression. Though the Frenchwoman has a lot of work to do on the ground (she spent the majority of round three on her back), she made some smart decisions in scramble situations and her striking was clearly superior to opponent Silje Wahl.
This was Amadou’s first fight, so at least she’s starting off her MMA journey with a W.
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.