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 was one those rare weekends where neither the UFC nor Bellator held events, giving us plenty of time to focus on smaller shows, including one held by Canada’s resurgent TKO promotion. But before we get to that, let’s check out Classic Entertainment and Sport’s first trip to the great state of New York.
Kenny Foster vs. Jacob Bohn
AL: While the headlines around CES NY understandably revolved around the second pro bout of John Gotti III — whose family has quite the reputation in New York as you may have heard — it was two veterans who stole the show. Bellator alum Kenny Foster met Jacob Bohn in a lightweight bout that served as Friday’s co-main event and they gave it everything they had in what was one of the weekend’s most thrilling scraps.
JM: I wouldn’t say they stole the show, if only because I don’t want to get on the wrong side of Gotti’s family.
This is why lightweight is so far ahead of every other division: neither Foster nor Bohn are top-50 155ers, but they put on a well-rounded, sizzlingly fun fight. Just look at the difference between this bout and any random regional heavyweight scrap and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
AL: This could have been the main card opener of a UFC of Bellator card and fans would have got their money’s worth. The announcers may have been over the top comparing it to Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar, but I dare anyone to watch this fight and not have a good time. It’s just non-stop action for 15 minutes.
— Alex Scaffidi (@alex_scaffidi) May 5, 2018
CES NY can be watched in its entirety for free in the above YouTube link.
Jesse Arnett vs. Sebastian Ruiz
Maxime Soucy vs. Olivier Nadeau
AL: We head north to Quebec City, where TKO put on its eighth show since returning to the Canadian MMA scene back in 2016, and 43rd show overall. Two titles were on the line on Friday, and bantamweight champ Jesse Arnett found himself in the unenviable position of fighting a short-notice opponent who had nothing to lose.
Sebastian Ruiz is a 19-year-old Peruvian fighter who currently trains in New Jersey. He stepped in on six days’ notice after Arnett’s original opponent Luis Rafael had to withdraw due to Visa issues. Ruiz has limited pro MMA experience, but he does have an extensive Muay thai background and he showed both his striking skills and his youthful exuberance in his attempt to unseat Arnett.
JM: You’ve gotta give Ruiz props. For stepping in with little time to prepare, he comports himself super well here. On the feet he actually hurts Arnett a couple of times but there is just too big of a gulf on the floor. Arnett locks in three or four submission attempts before finally getting the tap. Ruiz is resilient, but he just kept getting put in bad positions with no real way out.
AL: It’s so enjoyable to watch a kid like Ruiz, who seemed to perfectly comprehend the circumstances of his unexpected title shot and he just went for broke. In the end, the champ was just too much for him.
Arnett has now won 12 straight, including victories over UFC vets Johnny Bedford and Roland Delorme, so any day now we should see him competing at the next level. Afterwards, he showed a ton of respect to Ruiz and I have to remind everyone again that Ruiz is only 19 years old!
In the main card opener, bantamweights Maxime Soucy and Olivier Nadeau put on an entertaining tilt that lasted less than a round, but there was plenty of satisfying action packed in there. Nadeau came out guns blazing here, threatening the taller Soucy with some power punches early and forcing Soucy to do everything in his power to get this one to the mat.
JM: You know it’s gonna be a good fight when one guy runs across the cage and starts throwing hammers. Soucy actually had some success trading on the feet, but the takedown was a strong plan as he almost instantly won as soon as the fight hit the mat. For a now 1-1 fighter, this Soucy kid is actually quite fun to watch.
AL: He looked like a veteran in there, remaining patient until he could corral Nadeau and put him away with a submission late in the opening round.
this artistic choke by Maxime Soucy (TKO43) pic.twitter.com/I32zVLAEEK
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 4, 2018
TKO is doing a good job of trying to boost what’s become a somewhat stagnant MMA scene in Canada, while still setting up solid title fights to give their cards substance. A couple of other fighters worth mentioning are women’s flyweight Jade Masson-Wong and TKO middleweight champion Marc-Andre Barriault. Masson-Wong showed a lot of toughness in gutting out a unanimous decision win her pro debut against amateur rival Maggie Poulin, while Barriault was dominant in his first title defense over Brendan Kornberger.
But the real story was Barriault’s proposal to Masson Wong at the end of the night. We’re nothing if not suckers for romance.
La plus belle soirée de toute ma vie ❤️ Wow c’est indescriptible toutes ces émotions, ca restera notre soirée pour la vie MON HOMME ❤️ je suis la femme la plus chanceuse au monde, de pouvoir partager cette symbiose intense à chaque moment de ma vie avec le meilleur homme qui existe! Et ce, POUR LA VIE!! On vit chaque bataille ensemble et ca nous rend toujours plus fort Je t’aime tellement tu es exceptionnel, c’était plus que parfait #myMan #forever #4everlove #untildeath #mma #muaythai #TKO43 #tkomma #boxing #kickboxing #wrestling #bjj
JM: You know what they say, the family that viciously beats ass together stays together. What better time to pop the question than after you both are riding the adrenaline high of winning a fist fight?
AL: If you’re interested in seeing l’amour for yourself as well as the rest of what was a solid event from top to bottom, TKO 43 is available for replay on the UFC’s Fight Pass service.
Denis Kanakov vs. Abdul Azim Badakhshi
Nikita Chistyakov vs. Anton Chernega
AL: Dipping into the seemingly endless Russian MMA well, we first look at Absolut Championship Berkut 86 in Moscow, where Denis Kanakov and Abdul Azim Badakhshi kicked Saturday evening off right.
JM: At this point it’s pretty obvious that ACB is one of the best regional promoters out there as far as the whole experience goes. Drawing from the wealth of fightsport talent in the region, they consistently showcase quality fighters and prospects engaging in intriguing fights that aren’t just slobberknockers.
Also, at least lately it seems like there have been a million quick finishes either on the ground or on the feet and this one was no different. This was a competitive scrap right up until Kanakov Mortal Kombat uppercuts Badakhshi into the spirit realm.
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 5, 2018
AL: Just an ideal opener and a bout that’s certainly indicative of the action that ACB regularly puts on.
Kanakov vs. Badakhshi and the rest of ACB 86 is free to watch on the promotion’s YouTube channel.
Now we look west to Yekaterinburg, where Russian Cagefighting Championship was holding an event on the same day. This was another show with several notable finishes, but I really feel like we have to talk about whatever it is that Nikita Chistyakov did to Anton Chernega here:
impressive airlines and choke by Nikita Chistyakov – all in 1R (RCC2) pic.twitter.com/qz5UGIBRfa
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 5, 2018
JM: I’m not even joking you, when he went up in the air I thought Chistyakov was about to hit the Brock Lesnar pro wrestling finish on him.
AL: No, instead he went for either a “Death Valley Driver” or a John Cena “Attitude Adjuster”, depending on how sharply you determine the angle of the drop to be. Either way, nasty stuff and Chistyakov would eventually win the ensuing scramble and snag an arm-triangle for the win.
But just talking about the slam, what are we scoring that out of 10?
JM: I’m not a WWE guy so I have no idea what any of that meant but what I do know is that he went from a weird fireman carry slam to insta-mount and arm-triangle choke and that is either really cool or atrociously bad defense from Chernega. Probably a bit of both if we’re being honest so I’ll give the whole sequence a solid 7 on a scale of 1-to-Krazy Horse helicopter slam.
AL: RCC 2 is free to replay on the promotion’s YouTube channel.
And for those of you looking for coverage of Sunday’s Rizin event, please check out our recap here and head over to FITE TV if you want to see the pay-per-view yourself.
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.