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.
We hope you all had time to spend time with loved ones as you commemorated Memorial Day. Now we’re back to help you catch up on the action from last week, starting with a visit to our friends at the Legacy Fighting Alliance.
AL: LFA 40 took place in Dallas last Friday and it marked a milestone for broadcaster AXS TV, who was airing its 400th combat sports event. The Texas-based LFA (an amalgamation of the former Legacy Fighting Championship and Resurrection Fighting Alliance organizations) has become well known for being a feeder league for the UFC, but it also has a well-deserved reputation for showcasing all levels of talent and AXS TV has given them the platform to do so.
Case in point, Evan Cutts and undefeated welterweight prospect Ramiz Brahimaj stole the show on Friday, engaging in a three-round dogfight that let both guys strut their stuff.
I first saw Cutts when he beat BJ Penn’s older brother Reagan back in 2011 by unanimous decision in Reagan’s second and last MMA fight. He goes by “The Butcher”, which is pretty great because of his last name and the fact that he’s an actual butcher.
JM: He definitely shouldn’t quit his day job. Not that he’s a bad fighter but “Cutts the Butcher” is definitely marketable. Dude should open up his own chain of charcuterie shops.
AL: That actually sounds kind of threatening, which is probably why he’s chosen this other line of work.
Brahimaj showed why he’s got some hype behind him, dumping Cutts on his head early.
Unfortunately, he also cut his head on the cage while doing so and he’d have to deal with that for the remainder of the fight. See, Jed? Sometimes you shouldn’t slam, or at least be careful when you do!
JM: I mean, if you going into a fight with Cutts the Butcher, you should expect to bleed a little bit. Plus, I’m genuinely surprised that slam didn’t end the fight. Cutts got dropped straight on his head. Props to him for barely even looking phased by that and still winning the fight afterwards.
AL: Yup, Cutts gutted out a unanimous decision nod, much to the surprise of Brahimaj who took the third round with a steady diet of ground-and-pound. But it turned out to be too little, too late.
Check out the highlights of the show below (which oddly don’t include the Cutts-Brahimaj fight) and keep your eye on AXS TV for LFA’s next show, which takes place this upcoming Friday.
Aleksey Ilyenko vs. Helson Henriques
AL: On to St. Petersburg, Russia, we go for M-1 Challenge 92. Once more focusing on under-the-radar activity, we shine a light on 19-year-old Russian lightweight prospect Aleksey Ilyenko who might have had the most impressive performance at Thursday’s show.
JM: I’m torn on this fight. On the one hand, Ilyenko is really good for only 19 years old and I was impressed with his ability to overcome adversity and get the W. On the other hand, he also looked to have an even bigger size advantage than Darren Till had over Stephen Thompson. Seriously, it looked like a welterweight fighting a featherweight there.
AL: Spot on. Helson Henriques is a natural 145er from Angola so you do get the impression he was a lamb being led to the slaughter here. Not that he seemed to care. After being out-struck in round one, he took the taller Ilyenko down in round two and dominated him on the ground, to the point where I thought the kid was about to take his first loss in humbling fashion.
But he came out in the final period like a ball of fire and absolutely scorched Henriques.
Ilyenko has much to work on, but there’s a lot to like too. Readers can judge for themselves by checking out the fight embedded above and also the rest of the show on M-1’s YouTube channel.
August Kayambala vs. Warren King
Serge Kasanda vs. Teryl Singh
AL: Our third and final stop is Durban in South Africa, a country that doesn’t get enough credit for producing highlights. Saturday’s Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide 70 show was no different.
JM: Yeah, EFC is usually good for some wooly and entertaining scraps, especially if you’re not all that concerned about the low level of competition. That’s perfectly fine with me because where else can you see something like this?
Why yes, that is a man hitting an inverted heel hook from a standard leg lock position, a.k.a. a Z-lock. That is definitely a rarity in MMA and extremely cool.
AL: I don’t know nothing about no “Z-lock” or what have you. Where I come from, we just call that messing up a leg somethin’ fierce.
“Wooly” is the best way to describe our last highlight for the week, a lightweight fight between Teryl Singh and Serge Kasanda. This wasn’t the most technical battle, though Kasanda did drop Singh with a crisp jab early on in the fight. Singh scrambled to recover and Kasanda countered by holding on to his head and spending a long time working for a guillotine that didn’t come.
He attempted the same counter later and that’s when magic happened.
JM: This is the one I’ve been waiting to get to because over the weekend, MMA Twitter was in heated debate over what to call this one. As the resident pro-wrestling expert of this series, I need you to weigh in. Was this a “Northern Lights Suplex”, a “Perfect-Plex”, or a “Falling Back Body Drop”? I need answers!
AL: I was so certain it was a Northern Lights Suplex, but because it’s really a high-crotch lift, that’s still an imperfect (no pun intended) comparison. The fact is, wrestlers are coming up with new suplex variations all the time and that’s what Singh might have done here. I think we just saw the first South African Suplex.
JM: Soooooooo, the Southern Lights Suplex?
AL: Completely inaccurate reference from a meteorological standpoint, but I’ll allow it.
This innovative maneuver did little to improve Singh’s chances as he soon lost position and was on the defensive. That was really the story of this fight, both men completely ignoring any attempt to maintain position in favor of throwing as many punches as possible while they were in top control. Fun!
In the third round, Singh ends up tapping out to exhaustion as much as the choke that Kasanda puts on him.
You can watch the Kayambala-King (1:07:25) and Kasanda-Singh (00:35:30) fights as well as the rest of the prelims free on the EFC Facebook page (mind the lack of sound due to technical difficulties).
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.