This Week in Face Punching #25: All the Best GIFs and Clips in World MMA

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This Week in Face Punching #25 – The most comprehensive weekly global and US regional MMA review on the planet. Featuring videos and news from 20 MMA shows worldwide plus links to full fights and event videos.  Quebec’s TKO stole the show with an awesome card this past week, while LFA, KSW, Bellator, and a slate of regionals offerings sated our remaining appetite for combat. Read along for all the news and highlights!

Major non-UFC MMA Events

TKO 38 (Quebec, Canada)


Ronson vs Gauthier from TKO 38

If you missed the memo about the newly revitalized TKO promotion, the longtime Quebec MMA leader has done a fantastic of matching up top Canadian prospects since joining the UFC Fight Pass live events lineup last year. The main event of this talent-packed card showed off a pair of quality Canadian veterans as UFC vet Jesse Ronson (17-8) took on Derek Gauthier (8-7) in a lightweight contest. Gauthier is much tougher than his record indicates, as evidenced by a KO win over Chris Horodecki at TKO 37, and he managed to compete with Ronson throughout this one. But he found himself a step behind “The Body Snatcher”, and with just about a minute left in the fight Ronson finally found the finish via accumulation of strikes (see video above). With the TKO Ronson has now put together a two-fight finishing streak since dropping back down to 155, and as the top ranked lightweight in the Canadian regionals he should be in a good position to capitalize with more featured contests in the near future.


Berriault KOs Bandaoui at TKO 38

Most of TKO’s top prospects came through as expected on the show’s undercard. Ultratalented Quebecer Charles Jourdain (4-0) look as good as advertised in his all-around dominant TKO win over French short notice replacement Mathieu Morciano (3-3); Tristar’s Xavier “Breadman” Alaoui (8-1) built off of a respectable showing in his first loss to two-time WSOF title challenger Josh Hill with a unanimous decision win over Michael Imperato (7-3) in an entertaining and bloody 135 pound slugfest; Canadian amateur bantamweight champion Tyler Wilson (2-0) secured his second pro finish with an RNC of Eric Daigneault (2-3); and Tony Laramie (2-0) looked like an image of a young TJ Dillashaw in his impressive and dominant third round TKO victory over fellow prospect Derek Falk (2-1). Tony’s brother TJ Laramie (5-2) was less successful in his bid against Alex Morgan (7-2), who dropped Laramie midway through round one and was rewarded with an absurdly early referee stoppage for his efforts. And knockout of the night was sewn up by middleweight talent Marc-Andre Barriault (6-1), who weathered Yacine Bandaoui’s (7-6) aggressive assault for the majority of round 1 before catching him with a counter right that left the Frenchman slumped unconscious on the canvas at the 3:54 mark (see above!).

 

LFA 8 (South Carolina)


Elmore subs Jett at LFA 8

Several of South Carolina’s finest local talents were in the spotlight on this LFA 8 card, which doubled as the first ever nationally televised MMA card from the Palmetto State. Jared Scoggins (6-1), the younger brother of top-ranked UFC flyweight Justin Scoggins, was among the highly touted locals but he ended up grinding out an extremely uneventful decision over Juan Puerta (11-6). Meanwhile the most recent man to fight and defeat Scoggins, Michigan flyweight Jesse Bazzi (6-2), came up short in his 15 minute main event contest opposite well-rounded wrestler and range fighter Cee Jay Hamilton (11-4). In typical LFA fashion the undercard featured plenty of highlight reel material, especially the absolutely wild fight between lightweights Joe Elmore (12-9) and Ryan Jett (3-2). Elmore spent the early portion of the fight throwing some of the wildest strikes you’ll see in professional MMA and getting abused by the more athletic and technically proficient Jett. But Elmore stayed tenacious and kept up his attack, and by round 3 the Georgia-based ninja managed to wear down his opponent and shock him with a kneebar submission for the come-from-behind win – see the highlight video above.


Sweeney subs Sparks at LFA 8

Other fighters to score fine finishes at this event included mega-athlete John Sweeney (1-0), who looked like a prospect to watch in his pro debut first round RNC of Jon Sparks (4-4; see video), and Bellator veteran Jeremie Holloway (9-2) who built on a recent win over ex-Gall victim Mike “The Truth” Jackson with a first round thrashing of Georgia welterweight Dave Vitkay (18-13) that ended Vitkay’s eight fight winning streak. And the opening womens’ bantamweight bout between Calie Cutler (5-5) and Alexa Conners (3-1) was also a good one that saw Conners largely dominate the later rounds after a first close first frame. Check out the strange highlight from the end of the second round of Conners’ UD win, as Cutler mistook the 10 second warning for the round-ending bell and got smashed for her trouble, and don’t miss LFA 9 from Shawnee, Oklahoma this weekend:


Conners vs Cutler from LFA 8

KSW 38 (Poland) 


Sowinski subs Chlewicki at KSW 39

When you book an enormous show like KSW 39 that includes every one of your top stars and divisional champions in action, you’re bound to have some pretty light cards before and after your megashow. That was the case for KSW 38, which took place inside a Polish television studio and was focused as much on building up the upcoming stadium card as it was on presenting a night of action. Despite the talk-filled format, colorful former KSW featherweight champion Artur Sowinski (18-8) gave fans a reason to stick around with his virtuoso main event performance against wizened veteran Lukasz Chlewicki (14-6). It was evident from the opening bell that Sowinski was the much faster and sharper man in this one, and he briefly dominated on the feet before taking things to the mat and quickly locking in a triangle shoke submission in just 111 seconds. Great stuff from Sowinski, whose only loss in seven fights at 145 came via TKO in his KSW 37 title defense against Marcin “Polish Zombie” Wrzosek. This performance was terrific, and it seems likely that Sowinski has earned himself a shot at revenge and at reclaiming his former belt in the near future.


Szymanski vs Neves from KSW 39

The rest of this KSW card was mostly filled with decisions, though a few of the bouts managed to offer substantial action. The co-main event between Lukasz Bienkowski (5-1) and Antoni Chmielewski (32-16) was marketed as a surefire war, but the two brawlers stayed technical at range throughout most of this sleepy affair with the Bienkowski coming away with the strongest win of his young career. Anzor Anzhiev’s (7-2) unanimous decision win over Kamil Selwa (10-6) in the first bantamweight bout in KSW history was substantially more action packed, as was lightweight Kamil Szymuszowski’s (16-4) surprisingly close decision victory over late replacement Gracjan Szadzinski (5-2). But the best undercard performance of KSW 38 probably wen to Roman Szymanski (10-3), who looked absolute stellar in dominating talented 21 year old Brazilian Denilson Neves (11-5) over the first two rounds of their 145 pound clash. Yet Szymanski nearly threw it away in the third, as some reckless Anderson Silva-esque taunting earned the Polish prospect a flush flying knee to the sternum that scored a legitimate knockdown against the cage. Yet Neves botched the follow-up, as he landed an axe kick to the groin on his downed foe that gave Szymanski time to recover and put the decision win in the record books – check out the embedded video for highlights from that intriguing match.

Bellator 176 (Italy)

The MMA portion of this combined MMA and kickboxing show played out like a pretty good European regional card, as the only bout of significance to the Bellator divisional ranks was Rafael Carvalho’s (14-1) successful main event title defense versus striking legend Melvin Manhoef (30-14-1) that saw Manhoef knocked cold by a head kick in round four. Heavily-hyped Russian Anastasia Yankova (5-0) kept her undefeated ledger intact but looked very rough around the edges in her decision win over very green 18 year old Elina Kallionidou (5-2), and the fact that she also missed the flyweight limit for the third straight time didn’t do her any favors with the fans or the Bellator brass. But two other regional talents did look terrific on the undercard. First, Moldovan grappler Mihail Nica (6-0) faced a tough foe on paper in Samba Coulibaly (11-5), who came in with nine wins in his last ten bouts, but Nica absolutely blew him out of the water with a very clever and nuanced anaconda choke attack that forced a stoppage just 35 seconds in. And Italian/Romanian lightweight Valeriu Mircea (16-4) looked solid in all areas in a ground-heavy decision win over Dutchman Djamil Chan (13-4) that should probably earn him a more formidable foe in the Bellator cage next time they swing by this part of the globe.

Around the World in 16 Shows

US Regionals

Fight Time 36 (Florida) – Fight Time reliably puts on strong regional shows in Florida, but tends to fly under the radar due to a pretty steeply-priced iPPV steraming model. The latest iteration of the show included several talented southeastern prospects plus a grizzled international veteran in the main event. 42 year old Kenny “Deuce” Garner (17-10) is among the best heavyweight fighters that most fans have never heard of, as he competed 17 times in elite Russian promotion M-1 from 2010 through 2016 and scored heavyweight title fight wins over Maxim Grishin, Magomed Malikov, and the late Guram Gugenishvili. Now back in the states following back to back losses to Denis Smoldarev and Sergei Kharitonov, Garner proved that he still has what it takes to decimate regional opposition with a 41 second submission victory over Oscar Delgado (6-4) in the Fight Time 36 main event. Meanwhile the undercard featured finishes from prospects Everett Sims (4-0), who took out Frank Tate (4-4) via TKO in the first round of their heavyweight co-main event, and welterweight Miguel Baeza (3-0) who tore through Augutus D’Angelo (0-2) via second round TKO. Promising Puerto Rican featherweight Luis Raul Gomez Alvarez (4-0) was also victorious, as he earned a split decision nod in his toughest test yet against Brazilian Pedro Gomes (6-5).

Fight Club OC Final Match

Posted by Fight Club OC on Thursday, April 6, 2017

Jaynes subs Rosales at Fight Club OC

Fight Club OC (California) – It didn’t take long for mullet-sporting Bellator, RFA, and Combate veteran Jacob Rosales (5-3) to take fellow Californian Justin Jaynes (11-3) down to the ground and take his back against in their lightweight main event contest at Fight Club OC.  Jaynes did a fine job defending the back take and working his way to his feet, and when Rosales shot in for a second takedown Jaynes instantaneously sunk in an inextricable guillotine choke for the shocking first round stoppage. With the win Jaynes runs his winning streak to five straight in the past two years, including back-to-back wins over strong prospects Rosales and Troy Lamson. Check out the video of the bout, embedded here via Fight Club OC’s Facebook page.

Shogun Fights 16 (Maryland) – Washington, DC native Mike “The Hulk” Easton (13-6) spent the better part of three years in the UFC’s 135 pound top 15 rankings, only to find himself released following four consecutive losses to decorated competitors Raphael Assuncao, Brad Pickett, TJ Dillashaw, and Yves Jabouin. Since receiving his pink slip in June 2014 Easton has been underground, only to re-emerge for a comeback fight this past weekend against 24 year old Marylander Jesse Stirn (6-1). Yet things didn’t go quite as expected for the 33 year old Easton against the unknown Stirn, as he ended up losing by split decision. This is a very exciting development for Stirn, who put a very strong name on his resume and vaulted himself onto the radar in the bantamweight division. The rest of this regional card was also quite strong, including a decision win for 25 year old local flyweight prospect Gregoy Fischer (6-0) against Martin Davila (5-3) and a first round TKO victory for CFFC and CES veteran Micah Terrill (10-6) in his welterweight showdown with recent AXS competitor Chauncey Foxworth (6-3).

 

Maverick MMA 1 (Pennsylvania) – Former CFFC champ Scott Heckman (22-8) is among the more well-traveled and successful regional featherweights of the last decade who never earned a shot on a nationally televised show. The east coast MMA mainstay came out of a brief retirement and proved that he is still in good form against regional competition in the main event of Maverick’s debut show, scoring a 1:12 first round D’Arce choke submission over journeyman Steve McCabe (7-19). Heckman now has tallied four wins in his past five bouts, which is his best run of form since winning seven straight on the Bellator prelims and Pennsylvania regionals from 2011 through 2013. The most impressive prospect on display on the undercard was 25 year old Tiger Schulmann pupil Michael Trizano (3-0), who disposed of co-main event opponent Tim Kunkel (3-3) via TKO in just 51 seconds. Trizano already has his next challenge scheduled, as he will be featured on the main card of Ring of Combat 59 in June opposite 4-2 Eddie Lenoci.

 

Cage Titans 33 (Massachusetts) – #1 ranked New England bantamweight Manny Bermudez (9-0) may have gotten lucky when he was awarded a split decision win over Saul Almeida in last November’s CES 39 co-main event, but he left absolutely no doubt who the dominant fighter was in his Cage Titans 33 marquee bout against striking master Tony Gravely (8-4). Gravely’s Achilles’ heel has always been his wrestling and ground defense, and that played right into Bermudez’s standard game plan of charging into the clinch and working his way toward submission position. This one proved to be easy money for Bermudez, who needed just one round to secure the armbar finish and re-assert himself as the kind of prospect who may find himself getting a shot in UFC or Bellator in the near future. Recent WSOF competitor Johnny “Cupcakes” Campbell (13-9) was also in action, as he quickly outgrappled and choked out Raymond Yanez (4-10) in their bantamweight contest. Plus undefeated lightweight prospect Frank Sforza (6-0) earned a unanimous decision over Spencer Higa (5-8), while 21 year old submission ace Joe Giannetti (4-0) had no trouble quickly putting away road-weary Jay Ellis (13-64) by rear naked choke.

 

King of the Cage: Starbound (New Mexico) – Okay, TWIFP gives in to popular demand and will begin including KOTC’s “catchy” show titles when discussing their weekly offerings. In the evening’s feature attraction the vacant welterweight belt was on the line as recent RFA and FFC veteran Dez Hill (9-4) squared off with homegrown KOTC finisher Anthony Rozema (5-2). Yet despite going to decision in five of his previous six bouts it was the 35 year old Hill who came out looking for blood, scoring a takedown before assaulting his foe with strikes against the cage once he returned to the feet. Then with a nasty uppercut Hill sealed the first round KO victory and took home the most prestigious belt of his MMA career. This weekend KOTC will put on a rare live-broadcast event featuring mostly local Iowa-area fighters; check it out at 8 PM EST Saturday on MAVTV in between the UFC fights.

Global MMA Cards


De Oliveira submits Racz

Ladies Fight Night 5 (Poland) – Poland’s still-developing answer to Invicta FC, Ladies Fight Night put on its usual combination of kickboxing and MMA bouts for the fans in attendance in Poznan, Poland and everyone watching the webcast at LFN.com.pl.  The best prospect on the show may have been Brazilian bantamweight Talita de Oliveira (4-1) who dominated battle-tested Hungarian Iren Racz (4-7-2) on the ground en route to a first round arm triangle submission (see embedded video to the right). Several Polish women also scored big wins on the evening, including bantamweight Katarzyna Sadura (3-2) who broke a two fight losing streak with a decision upset of top Finnish WMMA fighter Suvi Salmimies (6-4-1); main eventer Kaatarzyna Lubonska (5-2) who battled her way to a split decision nod over Brazil’s Nubia Nascimento (2-3) in their flyweight contest; and RIZIN 2016 New Years’ Eve competitor Hannah Gujwan, who took home a decision win in a kickboxing match. But fight of the night certainly went to the knock-down, drag out brawl between 22 year old strawweight Sylwia Juskiewicz (6-4) and Ukraine’s Lydia Pylypchak (2-5) that saw the Polish prospect take home a unanimous decision – check out highlights of that fight below, and be sure to catch the next free-streamed LFN show if you’re a fan of high-quality womens’ MMA.


Juskiewicz decisions Pylypchak at LFN 5

360 Promotion (Belgium) – Two of Europe’s top strawweight talents did battle for this Belgium regional’s promotion title when England’s Bryony Tyrrell (4-1) hit the road to take on Griet Eeckhout (3-1-1) on her home soil. These two came in with opposing momentum, as Terrell was dominated by UFC-calibre talent Kate Jackson last time out while Eeckhout entered on the strength of a first round submission over top Canadian talent Lindsay Garbatt at TKO 37. Yet Tyrell was the victor on this occasion, as she came away with the unanimous decision for the biggest win of her young career and a shiny gold belt for her trophy case. Two other western Europe prospects shined in the evening’s other two title fights, with Dutch middleweight Reinier de Ridder (5-0) scoring a third round submission over Lamine Talbi (2-5) and Belgian featherweight Ayton De Paepe (6-0) taking home a decision nod over France’s Roman Molodij (3-4).

EFC Worldwide 58 (South Africa) – The only really notable promotion on the African continent was hard at work putting on a quality show from Cape Town this past weekend, streaming free on EFCWorldwide.tv and featuring a lightweight main event between Alaskan Dave Mazany (14-7) and top South African contender Don Madge (7-3). Given how dominant Mazany looked in his first three EFC bouts it seemed likely that he would hold the promotion’s lightweight title for quite a while, but the champ found himself befuddled by Madge’s lankiness and ground skills. By round two Madge had worked his way to the back of the tiring Mazany, where he sunk in a rear naked choke and took his nation’s top 155 belt back home to South Africa. Meanwhile three of the promotion’s top talents were successful on the undercard. Bantamweight contender Irshaad Sayed (13-3) did a great job of bouncing back from his dull decision loss to divisional ruler Demarte Pena at EFC 55 by punching out Tumisang Madiba (7-4) in the second round of their co-main event contest. Notorious UFC veteran Ruan Potts (11-6) also got into the action, as the heavyweight jiu-jitsu practitioner earned a first round TKO stoppage of UK muscleman Karl Etherington (12-3). And young Zimbabwean Sylvester Chipfumbu (4-0) continued to look like a person of interest in the EFC flyweight ranks following his comprehensive first round TKO of Abdul Hassan (7-7-1).

Arenal FC 4 (Brazil) – Not much to report from this show besides a main event appearance from hometown flyweight Rildeci Dias (21-5), who came in on a three fight losing streak in Pancrase and Akhmat following an upset of top Japanese flyweight Matatsu Ueda in November 2015. Dias got back in the win column with a quick-and-easy RNC submission of completely overmatched foe Pablo Diego (4-11); hopefully “Escorpaio” will find another larger platform to show off his top-notch Muay Thai and BJJ skills in the near future.


Karpov subs Bely at WWFC

WWFC (Ukraine) – In a very slow week in Russian MMA, there were a few highlight-worthy performances on this under-the-radar card coming out of the Ukraine. First, 27 year old Ukrainian middleweight prospect Alexander Karpov (4-1) withstood the top attack from debuting opponent Artur Bely (0-1) before locking in a painful kneebar that scored him the submission win – check out the video to the right for highlights of Karpov’s fourth career sub win in the main event. Meanwhile on the undercard the dark side of the leglock game showed its face as Georgij Pashinski (0-1) committed to a heel hook in round one of his contest with Vadim Chernievsky (1-0) and found himself on the wrong side of some brutal ground-and-pound; check out the video below to watch Vadim land a solid flying knee and then take advantage of openings on the ground for the nasty KO finish:


Chernievsky KOs Pasinshki at WWFC

Tech-KREP FC (Russia) – This week’s Tech-KREP card featured a lot of record-padding bouts between early-career prospects and debuting or losing rookies. Not much of note to report given the poor level of competition for the show’s relatively legit fighters, but the card did feature an appearance from striking Ukrainian featherweight Helena Kolesnyk (5-0) who maintained her unblemished record with a 25 second knockout of Tatiana Portova (0-2); while Kolesnyk has a shiny record, it’s worth noting that her most decorated opponent thus far came into their bout with a career record of 1-4. Nonetheless, the 27 year old Kolesnyk owns the #16 spot in Tapology’s current womens’ featherweight rankings and she could be a player in a major promotion’s 145 pound division very soon.

BRACE 49 (Australia) – When Canberra-based light heavyweight Duke Didier (6-0) entered the cage for his main event title shot against Adelaide-born veteran Mike Turner (7-4), the undefeated prospect had only seen the second round bell once and had never gone to a decision. Yet the 6’4” Didier proved that he has what it takes to compete in a lengthy contest, doing work for a full five rounds against Turner and earning approval from all three judges’ scorecards. The show also featured an upset KO from lightweight Ethan Duniam (7-4) at the expense of reigning Eternal MMA champ Myles Simpson (9-3) and a decision victory for recent BRACE title challenger Anthony Bynoe (5-2) over Stephen Owens (1-1) in a welterweight scrap.


Gray KOs Gross at Reign 3

Reign Fighting 3 (Australia) – Reign’s latest iPPV offering from Queensland, Australia included a trio of promotional title fights plus a nasty standing knee knockout that you’ve got to see.  In the 135 pound title scrap Chris Morris (11-6) picked up his fourth straight win and defended his belt with a 25 minute unanimous decision win over local journeyman Callum Lewis (7-7), while top Australian regional flyweight Tim Moore also needed the full time allotment to defend his 125 pound title against Sean Gauci (3-1). Welterweight Jack Della Maddalena (2-2) needed substantially less time to pick up the vacant 170 pound belt, as he punched out Glen Pettigrew (3-2) 3:26 into their headlining contest. But the KO of the night definitely belonged to featherweight Ryan Gray (7-3), who snapped a two fight losing streak by absolutely demolishing Garret Gross (6-3-1) with standing knees just 49 seconds into their undercard feature – check the video for highlights of Gray sending Gross to dreamworld.

Chin Woo Men (China) – This debut offering from new Chinese promotion Chin Woo Men was most notable for a success appearance by longtime Japanese MMA bantamweight contender Shunichi Shimizu (31-18). The 12 year veteran entered this one on a nine fight winless streak dating back to May 2015 that included decision losses to top regional talents Mikael Silander and Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha, and he exited the cage back in the win column after securing a first round triangle choke on overmatch Nan Yan Zhang (1-2) of China. The finish was Shimizu’s first since an armbar triumph against Yuki Baba all the way back at Pancrase 247 in 2013. Among the Chinese prospects on the card featherweight Zha Yi (6-0) looks the most promising on paper, and he got the job done by scoring his fifth straight submission victory at the expense of Mongolian national Wugetumuji (3-4).


Atajev TKOs May at Kunlun MMA

Kunlun MMA (China) – China’s most well-established combat sports promotion, Kunlun Fight also produced an event this weekend featuring plenty of the country’s top combatants in action along with a few notable foreign fighters. For international fight fans the most substantial matchup on the card was the return of once-dominant Russian heavyweight Bazigit Atajev (18-1) after an 11 year absence from competition. The 38 year old Pride veteran didn’t pick an easy opponent for his return, as he faced off with American Jeremy May (13-9) who entered on a four fight win streak including submission upsets of Darrill Schoonover and Alexei Kudin. Atajev, whose only career loss came at the hands of Alistair Overeem, quickly proved that he’s still got it by decking May with a crushing left hand and followed-up ground strikes – check out the embedded video for his first round finish of the 30 year old Floridian.

Meanwhile in the main event Kunlun regular Sai Wang (20-6) advanced to 12-1 since his UFC departure with a decision win over surprisingly game Canadian James Kouame (3-10); Kouame is representative of the level of competition that Wang has faced during most of his recent bouts on home soil. The undercard also featured a decision win for northwestern Chinese featherweight talent Musu Nuertiebeke (8-1) over debuting Russian Evgeniy Sidorov (0-1), and a stellar ground-and-pound TKO win for top Chinese womens’ flyweight Heqin Lin (5-2) in her contest against Ukrainian debutante Hana Yurchenkova (0-1) – see the video below to enjoy Lin’s fine finishing skills.


Heqin TKOs Yurchenkova at Kunlun MMA

Combat Sports Highlights of the Week

1:  1000 Hand Finishing Combo at Max Muay Thai

2:  John Wayne Parr Executes the Opposition at Bellator Kickboxing

3:  MX Muay Thai is a Weekly Sanctuary of Violence

4:  Lomachenko, Future Matador or Dancing with the Stars Champ?

5:  WGP Kickboxers Showing Off their Dance Moves, Too

6:  Why Kickboxing Should Take Place in a Cage

That’s all for another packed This Week in Face Punching.  Be sure to follow video wizards @Grabaka_Hitman, @Jolassanda, and @ZPGifs to catch all the regional highlights as they happen, and check this space next week for all the news from LFA 9, CES 43, ACB 57, and the rest of the week in combat sports action.

 

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