This Week in Face Punching #28: Nam Crushes Ali, Hamill Hammers Again + Tons More News & Video

This Week in Face Punching #28 – The most comprehensive weekly MMA review on the planet. Featuring GIFs, clips and news from 18 MMA shows worldwide plus links to full fights and event videos.  Relive Tyson Nam’s crushing finish of Ali Bagautinov at FNG 64, Matt Hamill’s return to the win column at age 40, David Michaud’s crushing elbow at LFA Sioux Falls, and plenty of other terrific MMA action from across the globe. Plus the best highlights from combat sports across the globe courtesy of GIF masters @Jolassanda, @Grabaka_Hitman, and other contributors from across the ‘net.

Major MMA Cards

Fight Nights Global 64 (Russia)

This FNG 64 card was supposed to be Ali Bagautinov’s (15-7) crowning return to Moscow after a seven-fight run near the top of the UFC 125 pound ranks. And for the first 14:59 of his main event bout with Tyson Nam (15-8-1) the Russian star looked untouchable, effortlessly weaving his way into range to land jabs and kicks before slipping away from Nam’s counters. Then just as the fight seemed in the bag Nam countered a lazy body kick with an utterly perfect head kick that knock Bagautinov cold on the spot less than a second before the final horn. What an unbelievable finish for Nam, a more dramatic version of his career-defining 2012 TKO upset over Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas in the Shooto Brazil cage. Watch for Nam vs. Bagautinov II to come to an FNG cage in the near future, and for now relive Nam’s unbelievably well-timed knockout:

Nam KOs Bagautinov

 

Beyond the top-notch headliner, FNG 64 offered a selection of main card fights that supplied plenty of face punching action. The co-main event between two-time WSOF heavyweight title contender Derrick Mehmen (19-9) and Belarussian #2 Alexei Kudin (22-10) was an outright slobberknocker, with Mehmen plowing forward throwing bombs while Kudin worked a more technical and accurate game. In the end Kudin was awarded a well-earned split decision victory, but this was the kind of battle of wills and skill that should elevate both mens’ stock in the eyes of anyone watching. Beyond that quality contest, the card featured SBG Ireland talent Peter Queally (10-3) putting on the best performance of his career. Queally did a great job stuffing takedowns from Igor Egorov (12-7) and punishing the Russian with precise and patient offense on the feet, en route to unanimous decision victory. And brawny middleweight talent Ayub Gimbatov (8-1) earned the biggest win of his young career with an impressive, overpowering TKO victory at the expense of Dauren Ermekov (5-3):

Gimbatov TKOs Ermekov
 

Fight2Night 2 (Brazil)

In an off-week for mainstream MMA action, new Brazilian promotion Fight2Night may well have put on the best fight card of the week. It was so good, in fact, that we wrote all about it – click here for the full card review. Sure, nobody was begging for another fight from 40 year old Matt Hamill (12-8) before his light heavyweight main event opposite fellow UFC vet Luiz Cane (17-7), but it was pretty exciting to see “The Hammer” score one last strong KO win before riding off in into the sunset of retirement (we hope):


The undercard showed off some of the better female talent that Brazil has to offer. In a matchup of strawweight grapplers, high level jiu-jitsu black belt Virna Jandiroba (11-0) dominated two-fight UFC competitor Erick Almeida (7-3) on the ground for 15 minutes en route to a unanimous decision win. Strawweight striker Marina Rodriguez (7-0) looked even more impressive in her decision win over Samara Santos (10-3-1). To her credit Santos showed off a great chin in the decision loss, absorbing everything that Rodriguez had to offer from spinning backfists and front kicks to nasty clinch knees and crisp punches. On the men’s side, lightweight talent Killys Mota (10-0) had no trouble disposing off faded JMMA veteran Akihiro Gono (35-21-8) via first round TKO. And in the co-main event, longtime UFC middleweight Paulo Thiago (18-9) showed the world that his jiu-jitsu game is still a force to be reckoned with in a dominating performance over Faycal Hucin (11-4) that he capped with a slick armbar:


The remainder of this genuinely stacked F2N2 card featured four quarterfinal bouts in an ongoing eight-man welterweight tournament. Bleach-blond UFC veteran William Macario (9-3) faced a tough opponent in powerful striker Handesson Ferreira (9-1) and happily obliged in a Muay Thai standup war that he eventually won over the prospect by split decision. Lanky Argentinian Matias Juarez (9-1-1) secured his spot in the semis via doctor’s stoppage TKO by using his hands to close bruising slugger Jorge la Terra’s (7-5) right eye near the end of the second round. The third semifinal place went to the least experienced competitor in the tournament as Edi de Castro (3-1-1) took out well-traveled Luiz Cado (12-6-1) via first round TKO. And  21 year old Eduardo Garvon (11-2-1) made a strong impression by dominating Junior Orgulho(13-5) for three rounds and ending the bout with a flourish en route to his semifinal berth:

Gavron tips his hat to Orgulho

 

LFA Sioux Falls (South Dakota)

Top-to-bottom, LFA’s first non-AXS TV show (offered through the FloCombat.com subscription service) was probably the promotion’s best card yet, with each of the pro fights featuring either established talent or interesting prospects; for CombatDocket’s full report on LFA Sioux Falls CLICK HERE. The main event was a standup brawl between UFC veterans that saw David Michaud (11-3) crush Jake Lindsey (12-7) with a nasty standing elbow (think Perry-lite) before the fight was waived off due to a Lindsey knee injury as Michaud pursued the finish. Michaud has now won 3 of 4 against strong competition since his UFC run, and he seems like a natural for a return to the big show given that he’s still only 28 and possesses a very fan-friendly style:


While UFC veteran Daniel Sarafian (10-6) pulled out a decision win by outstriking Austen Heidlage (9-4) over three rounds, the rest of this show belong to up-and-coming prospects. Factory X flyweight Sid Bice (7-1) had no problem grounding and mauling local talent Cody Land (14-9) for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. The remainder of the bouts resulted in stoppages including a third round TKO for Brazilian all-arounder Vincius Zani (10-4) at the expense of late replacement William Joplin (15-14), a 100 seconds TKO finish for middleweight amateur wrestling star Deron Winn (2-0), and a 73 second TKO stoppage for fellow top amateur wrestling prospects Logan Storley (5-0) – check out the welterweight talent’s quick shot in the video below:

Storley with the Takedown
 

 

Brave CF 6 (Kazakhstan)

Abu Dhabi-based Brave made their first foray into Kazkhstan and brought along one of the Middle East’s finest talents in Lebanese welterweight dynamo Mohammed Fakhreddine (10-1). Fakreddine has looked explosive and skilled at all ranges against increasingly difficult regional opposition, and he was initially set to make the jump up to world-level competition against UFC veteran Leonardo Mafra. Yet when Mafra pulled out with a last minute injury Fakhreddine made do with defeating last-minute replacement Lukasz Witos (8-5). It didn’t take long for Fakhreddine to catch a lazy kick from Witos and dump him to the ground, and once on top “The Latest” dropped seriously vicious ground and pound on his opponent until the referee jumped in for the stop just under three minute in to the contest. Now 4 years into his pro career, the 32 year old Fakhreddine has all the tools to be a serious player at welterweight as Brave continues its rapid ascent into the global MMA sphere:

Fakhreddine TKOs Witos

The remainder of the card featured finishes aplenty, with the judges only being called into action once in eleven fights. The main event saw Team Nurmagomedov pupil Eldar Eldarov (9-1) take out Henrique “Rasputin” Gomes in the first round to pick up his ninth straight win since losing his debut fight to Khabib. Swedish lightweight Erik Carlsson (6-2) also got in the finishing action with a knee KO of three-fight Brave regular Gadzhimusa Gadzhiev (7-4). And Chinese lightweight Habiti Tuerxunbieke (10-5) destroyed overmatched co-main event opponent Orkhan Mamedov (0-3) in scintillating fashion – give this man some real competition next time!:

Tuerxunbieke KOs Mamedov


 

Global MMA Events

 

WFC Akhmat 36 (Chechnya)

While this Akhmat card didn’t feature the level of talent we often see out of Kadyrov’s pet promotion, there was still plenty of fine action broadcast free on Fite.TV.  The top two bouts in the evening each matched up relatively untested Akhmat Fight Club featherweight prospects with decent ouf-of-town journeymen. In the marquee contest Dzhihad Yunusov (13-3) earned his ninth straight win with a TKO of well-traveled journeyman Paata Robakidze (21-13), while in the co-main undefeated Akhmed Shervaniev (10-0) wasted no time putting away Ukraine’s Maksim Maryanchuk (6-5) via first round RNC; time for a step up in class for both of those gentlemen. Highlight of the card goes to another featherweight on the undercard, Imran Zhulagov (7-0), who splattered Anton Vasiliev (7-8) with a headkick/flying knee combo and follow-up knees in the clinch – check out the video below for the emphatic finish from this insanely talented 19 year old prospect:

Zhulagov TKOs Vasiliev

Tech Krep FC: Prime Crimea 2 (Ukraine)

There isn’t a lot to report on in terms of prospects at this particular Tech-Krep card, though credit 24 year old featherweight Alberd Zhapuev (9-1) with earning his seventh straight knockout win over a one-fight opponent.  The main event contest between Ukraine’s Ruslan Belikov (9-4) and Japan’s Takashi Matsuba (8-3) was the only matchup of note, and 2016 Tech-Krep flyweight tournament runner-up Belikov made sure that it didn’t last long. Matsuba started strong, controlling distance with his jab and shocking Belikov with a strong flying knee to the chin about a minute into the bout. But Belikov kept his composure and found the opening to land a right hand that sent the Japanese fighter staggering into the ropes. Ruslan pounced for the finish, hammering away at his fallen foe, but Matsuba managed to struggle back to his feet. Belikov stayed on his wounded quarry, landing an overhand right followed by a fake soccer kick and a pair of flush ground punches to earn the first round TKO stoppage:

Belikov TKOs Matsuba

 

Shooto Brasil 71 (Brazil)

It’s a shame that Shooto Brasil is no longer broadcast on UFC Fight Pass as the venerable promotion continues to put on solid, prospect-filled cards (now on Brazil’s Combate television network). Nova Uniao bantamweight Rafael Apocalipse (3-0) proved devastating on the mat as he scored his third straight submission over Natan Leite (3-4), while the main event saw 22 year old featherweight Leonardo Limberger (9-1) pick up his sixth straight win by choking out David Souza (7-2). Finish of the night goes to middleweight Cemy dos Santos (1-0), who seemed to be a sacrificial lamb debuting against Nova Uniao KO artist Renato Rangel (4-2), but dos Santos had other plans as he turned the table with a nasty spinning backfist:

dos Santos KOs King

Apocalipse subs Leite

 

Battleground Fight League 48 (Canada)

Canadian Olympic wrestler Arjan Bhullar (6-0) trains with Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez, so when he faced former college wrestler Joe Yager (11-6) in the main event of BFL 48 it’s no surprise that Bhullar managed to control his opponent across all three rounds for the unanimous decision victory. At 30, Bhullar is still very young for heavyweight and it only seems a matter of time before he breaks out of the Canadian regional scene and starts plying his trade in a more high-profile promotion.

 

Gladiator Arena 7 (France)

Talented French boxer Samir Zaidi (5-0) showed off the power in his hands when he blasted durable opponent Thibault Ruggieri (1-1) with a nasty uppercut early in round 2 that staggered Ruggieri in place. The talented middleweight striker finished things quickly by landing a series of punches that forced the ref to step in and save the still-standing yet unresponsive Thibault. Featherweight grappler Jean Do Duc (4-1) also looked sharp in forcing Yann Martelli (3-9) to the ground and latching on a fight-cinching armbar just 63 seconds into the fight. No, it wasn’t the deepest card of the week but take note, MMA promotions: if you stream your show for free, people will start to pay attention!

 

Cage 39 (Finland)

Nothing about Diego Silva’s (7-2) relatively pedestrian resume in the Brazilian regionals suggested that he would pose a serious threat to top Finnish bantamweight Janne Elonen-Kulmala (15-5). Yet the 23 year old Brazilian managed to outwork the home favorite over three rounds to earn a massive split decision win in the Cage 39 main event that should open up plenty of international opportunities going forward. Meanwhile the split decision had to be a tough pill to swallow for Elonen-Kulmala, who saw a 40 month, 11 fight win streak go up in smoke. A pair of other Finnish prospects lost even more decisively by TKO, as lightweight Mikael Nyssonen (9-3) was finished on the ground by Tunisia’s Ayady Majdeddine (10-2) and flyweight Aleksi Tovionen (4-1) fell to Belarus’s Oleg Lichkovakha (4-1). But it wasn’t all bad news for the Finnish faithful, as longtime top domestic stars bantamweight Mikael Silander (16-5) and featherweight Joni Salovaara (17-9) both came through with TKOs over middling regional opponents.

 

Angel’s Fighting 3 (South Korea)

World, meet Rae Yoon Ok (8-1). Specifically, meet his knee.  No, TWIFP has no idea whether the young South Korean lightweight can replicate this sort of thing against anyone better than a debuting opponent, but this is a finish worth watching:


 

RXF 26 (Romania)

Speaking of finishes worth watching, RXF heavyweight champion Anatoli Ciumac (10-10-1) is definitely a showman, and so when Tony Mustard (6-3) didn’t want any part of being on the ground with CIumac in the first minute of their heavyweight contest Ciumac wasn’t going to let him off the hook with a submission to strikes (or, in this case, submission to man-sitting-on-him-in-mount). Instead Ciumac, who now holds a record of 9-3-1 since his 40th birthday,  quickly rolled for a semi-serious armbar so that he could get a decent looking finish in the books:

Ciumac taps Mustard

 

US Regional Happenings

King of the Cage: Supremacy (Michigan)

King of the Cage forewent the usual buffet of dubious amateur contests to put on a full 17 pro bouts, including a KOTC heavyweight title defense that saw 43 year old reigning champ Tony Lopez (48-25) take out Josh Parisian (5-2) by second round TKO despite giving away 16 years and about 40 pounds to the challenger. Other winners on the card included Michigan heavyweight Leroy Johnson (7-2) who scored a decision win, and Albanian-American striker Adrian Hadribeaj (8-1) who took out the hapless Jay Ellis (13-66) in 81 seconds.

 

KOP 55 (Michigan)

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of pretty high-quality regional MMA going down in Michigan these days. Recent KOP events have been built around local talent Cody Stamann (14-1), and the 27 year old Michigan Top Team representative …… with a win over Zac Church (8-5). Stamann has now tallied seven straight wins over middling-to-good regional opposition, and with a record like his it’s about time that he earned a shot with one of the major promotions.

 

Carden Combat Sports (Kansas)

How often do you hear about a U.S.-based UFC prospect competing in a one-night, four-man tournament?  Basically never. Yet heavyweight Kyle Noblitt (8-0) took the opportunity to get in two night’s worth of experience at a regional show last weekend, taking out Bryan McVea (6-6) in his first bout via submission to strikes and following it up with a finals-winning decision victory over Rob Morrow (21-21-1). Whether Noblitt’s skills translate against top-level heavyweights is anyone’s guess, but with seven finishes in his eight regional wins he’s definitely earned the right to find out.

 

NEF 28 (Maine)

Much of this Northeastern regional card fell off the books due to fighter pullouts, but the finals of NEF’s four-man lightweight tournament went off without a hitch as CES mainstay Ryan Sanders (14-8) tapped Jon Lemke (6-8) with a guillotine choke seconds into round two of the main event. The show also featured a strong performance from athletic featherweight prospect Josh Harvey (4-0), who took out Derek Shorey (4-9) via TKO in just 50 seconds.

 

Fury FC (Texas)

After watching a few of longtime Jackson Wink veteran Rey Trujillo’s (22-18) lightning-fast kicks whiz by his face, 23 year old Texas lightweight Koltun England (5-2) chose to take this five-round main event title fight to the mat as soon as he could get inside Trujillo’s range. Englund showed strong top control for half the round, and when the fight got back to the feet he landed an impressive series of knees to the head from the Thai plum. But once the fight returned to range Trujillo capitalized immediately, blasting Englund with a punch that send him down to the canvas as round one ended. In round two Trujillo continued blasting his young adversary with diverse strikes including a flush superman punch, a snapping uppercut, and a flying knee to the jaw. Englund absorbed the damage and finally managed to work the bout to the ground as both men tired with a minute to go in the round.  In the third round Englund finally started to find his striking range, as he began slipping Trujillo’s punches and timing counters. Englund also started getting his feet involved with solid head and body kicks, and managed to hold back control for part of the third. Heading into the championship rounds this fight was still very much in question, and at the start of the fourth Trujillo look reinvigorated, smashing Englund with three right hands that snapped his head back. But Trujillo followed up with a jumping kick that got him caught up in the wrestler’s clinch and dumped to the mat. From there Englund advances position before switch off to an armbar that earned him the submission finish. This fight showed a lot about the 23 year old Englund’s will to win, as he persevered through a swollen eye and plenty of strong offense from Trujillo to topple the 40 fight veteran and earn the Fury FC lightweight belt.

Meanwhile on the undercard, Fury regular and five time AXS Fights veteran “Hurricane” Ike Villaneuva (13-9) had no problem getting back in the win column against local brawler Pat Miller (5-9) in the Fury FC 16 co-main event. Just two minutes into the bout Villaneuva landed a cracking counter right hand to Miller’s eye socket that functionally ended the fight, and after a dozen ground shots on the curled-up Miller the Texas referee stepped in to stop the fight and hand Villaneuva his tenth career KO win at the 2:00 mark. And the card’s other prospect of note, hulking light heavyweight Isaac Teran (3-0) kept his ledger perfect with a grinding decision win over Reese Forrest (0-1). Teran, who is built something like a 5’10 version of MMA-era Mariusz Pudzianowski or perhaps like an oversized Gleison Tibau, utterly overpowered Forrest to the mat and spent much of the fight working his top game. The bruising bodybuilder tired late, but even when he was word down Teran showed the ability to walk through his opponent’s punches. In the end Isaac Teran was awarded the unanimous decision victory, and though he could stand to lose some of his muscle mass he showed better cardio management than he did in his last 15 minute fight. Overall, this card wasn’t exactly a can’t miss event but if you have a FloCombat subscription then it’s a welcome addition to the other two pro cards they broadcast this weekend.

 

California Xtreme Fighting 7 (California)

Was this the win that will finally earn Terrion Ware (17-4), perpetual resident on “best fighter still in the regionals” lists, a shot at the big show? Ware built on his recent ACB and RFA victories by knocking out UFC veteran Jared Papazian (19-13) with a clean punch just 20 seconds into the third round of their CXF 7 main event title bout. Other than a misstep as a rookie, Ware’s only losses have come to proven elite talents Leandro Higo, Luke Sanders, and Joe Soto, and at 31 the time is now for someone to give Ware a chance. Joining Ware in the winner’s circle were onetime UFC combatant Chris Saunders (16-8) who earned a decision over Derion Chapman (4-7) at lightweight, and three-time AXS TV competitor Mike Jasper (12-4) who defended his CXF welterweight crown with a TKO of Jonathan Rivera (4-2) with just three seconds remaining in the fight.

WXC 68 (Michigan)

Plenty of familiar faces were in action at WXC 68 from Ypsilanti, Michigan, with none more recognizable than Joe Riggs (44-17). Laugh all you want about some of Riggs’ more preventable misfortunes, but since being cut from UFC he’s gone back to utterly bulldozing regional-caliber competition including a 1:51 knockout of a rather bloated Cody McKenzie last October. Riggs needed even less time to punch out Jerome Jones (11-10), who lasted just 27 seconds with the big show vet. Even if the UFC is no longer interested is there any reason that Riggs – who is somehow still just 34 – doesn’t deserve a spot in the thin Bellator middleweight ranks?

The remainder of the card featured a unanimous decision win for seven time Bellator veteran Jason “The Finisher” Fischer (13-3) in a welterweight contest against Adam Smith (9-8); an anaconda choke submission win for onetime Reagen Penn conquerer Evan Cutts (7-3); a quick main event victory for longtime UFC bantamweight Johnny Bedford (23-12), who scored his fourth straight post-UFC finish with an 88 second TKO of Eric Higaonna (7-2); and a flying knee knockout courtesy of top LFC bantamweight Levi Mowles (6-2), who was taking on late-notice foe Keith Bullock (4-13) all the way up at lightweight.

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