Missed Fists: Merab Dvalishvili scooped up into the air by 6-foot-4 women’s kickboxer


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 was back in Abu Dhabi last weekend. But, as it often is when they make the long trip, the UFC isn’t the only activity. 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 go any further, let us remind you that size does matter, even if your fighter is the greatest in one of MMA’s most deep divisions.

(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. )

Merab Dvalishvili and Katarina Kavaleva

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 information about this David vs. Goliath battle, visit 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 the regular, ol’ fashioned, and 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).

Ion Surdu defeated Handesson Ferreira, a former fighter of the PFL. The final sequence was initiated by a backfist.

Backfist knockouts that do not include spinning are very strange. We were blessed with Ilkhom Nazimov’s gift of beautiful spinning displays that resulted from a miss leg kick.

Shortly after, Nazimov finished the fight with a guillotine choke. So awesome.

There were two other entries on the card. Dylan Salvador tap Jakhongir Jumaev using a fantastic Von Flue set-up.

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.

Marcin Bandel vs. Ismail Naurdiev
Nemat Abdrashitov vs. Marcos Vinicius Costa
Brad Katona vs. Gamzat Magomedov

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.

Congratulations to Costa for being there swinging leather after three consecutive knockout wins. Perhaps he will be next on 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.

It doesn’t matter if we see him fighting to get a promotion in North America. Do your best, Superman .”

Lucas de Araujo vs. Thiago Costa

The Brazilian lightweight improved to [****************************************************************************************************************************************************** *************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************]-0 in his young career. 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. Please, just uppercut me.

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: Troy Gibson, Cage Conflict’s pro debutant in bizarre manner won his title in bizarre fashion. He ate several knees to the forehead while in the top position and was disqualified.

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.