Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where we 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.
The UFC returned to Abu Dhabi this past weekend, but as is often the case when the octagon makes the trip to UAE capital, it isn’t the only action in town. UAE Warriors also hosted a show in the city, as did Brave Combat Federation just a short flight away, and they provided plenty of highlights prior to Saturday’s stacked UFC 280 event.
Before we get to all that though, we have reminder that even when you’re one of the best fighters in one of MMA’s deepest divisions, well, size still matters.
(Big thanks as always to @Barrelelapierna for their weekly lists of the best KOs and submissions, and to @Grabaka_Hitman for uploading many of the clips you see here. Give them a follow and chip in on Patreon if you can.)
Look, Merab Dvalishvili doesn’t expect to fight for the UFC bantamweight title anytime soon (though should his BFF Aljamain Sterling lose to T.J. Dillashaw, that plan could quickly change), so he may as well occupy himself with some amusing sideshow fights on the side.
What better than a rematch with towering kickboxer Katarina Kavaleva? Dvalishvili should be seeking revenge after the 6-foot-4 Kavaleva tossed him around like a prime Brock Lesnar during a friendly spar.
Dvalishvili is listed at 5-foot-5, so he was giving up almost a full foot of height to Kavaleva. Talk about your classic mismatches. It feels like we missed this kind of opportunity back when UFC events were in the single digits, so for now we will have to settle for this brief training footage and wonder what could have been.
For more from this David vs. Goliath encounter, check out Kavaleva’s social media.
Amir Fazli vs. Mohamad Osseili
Ion Surdu vs. Handesson Ferreira
Ilkhom Nazimov vs. Khazar Rustamov
Dylan Salvador vs. Jakhongir Jumaev
Now on to regular, ol’ fashioned, ho-hum MMA.
Middleweight Amir Fazli stole the show at UAE Warriors 34, handing Mohamad Osseili his first loss in just 24 seconds with a rocking 1-2 haymaker combo. Sometimes you just get caught, and Osseili will learn from this (depending on how much he remembers).
Earlier on the card, Ion Surdu took out former PFL fighter Handesson Ferreira with a finishing sequence started by a backfist.
Backfist knockouts without the spinning are so weird. Thankfully, we had Ilkhom Nazimov gift us with a gorgeous spinning display coming out of a missed leg kick.
Shortly after, Nazimov finished the fight with a guillotine choke. So awesome.
There was one other submission on the card as Dylan Salvador tapped Jakhongir Jumaev with a wonderful Von Flue setup.
We see this technique much more frequently these days, but it amazes me that it’s become such a common part of the ground game vocabulary. Look at Salvador go to work in that clip. Fighters don’t just luck into Von Flue opportunities, they hunt for them now.
UAE Warriors 34 is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.
Over on DAZN you can watch Brave CF 63, which took place in Isa Town, Bahrain. The main event saw Marcin Bandel capture a vacant 175-pound title with a slick club-and-sub submission of former UFC fighter Ismail Naurdiev.
Not quite as slick, but no less effective was Nemat Abdrashitov absolute uncorking of a right hand against Marcos Vinicius Costa.
Respect to Costa for standing in there and swinging leather with a guy coming off of three straight knockout victories. Maybe next time he gets to be the hammer.
One more notable Brave result: The Ultimate Fighter 27 winner Brad Katona has been rolling since parting ways with the UFC back in 2019, going 4-0 in Brave including this unanimous decision win over Gamzat Magomedov that marked his first successful defense of his bantamweight title.
Whether we see him fighting for a North American promotion or not, it doesn’t really matter. Keep doing your thing, “Superman.”
Lucas de Araujo vs. Thiago Costa
Despite all the impressive face-punching we’ve witnessed, the most vicious knockout of the week came courtesy of Lucas de Araujo at a Spartacus MMA show in Sao Paulo. The Brazilian lightweight improved to 3-0 in his young career with this leg kick finish of Thiago Costa.
That looked like it caught him right on the knee, completely unchecked. No, thank you. Just uppercut me instead, please.
Javon Henry vs. Zeke Breuninger
Abe Alsaghir vs. Mike Walker
Back here in the North American amateur scene, we had to professional-looking finishes from Javon Henry and Abe Alsaghir at a Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting event in Flint, Mich.
Henry somehow squeezed a ridiculous amount of violence into a 25-second window.
The 28-year-old won a vacant featherweight belt and improved to 8-1, and taking all of that into account along with what we just witnessed, it might be time to turn pro, bud.
The evening’s other title fight saw Alsaghir welcome a hard-charging Mike Walker into a guillotine choke that he cinched in for the win before the 30-second mark of the fight.
From the ICYMI Department, make sure you watch Cage Conflict’s Troy Gibson win his pro debut in bizarre fashion as he ate multiple knees to the head while in top position before a disqualification was finally called.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
Merab Dvalishvili goes toe-to-toe with a giantess
Ion Surdu’s non-spinning backfist
Nemat Abdrashitov uncorks a right hand
Lucas de Araujo’s leg-ripping kick
Other (leave comment below)
0 votes total Vote Now
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 — @AlexanderKLee — using the hashtag #MissedFists.