With the UFC getting set up for their upcoming pay-per-view in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and Bellator on break after last week’s Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir bout, this was the perfect opportunity for other organizations to shine. RIZIN took center stage with Kyoji Horiguchi and Tenshin Nasukawa, while Invicta 29 saw Sarah Kaufman become bantamweight champion (and unfortunately produced no knockouts). Over in Europe, ACB put on an extravaganza of title fights.
All told, there was plenty of high octane fisticuffs to fill the week if you knew where to look.
The recognition for keeping that lookout goes to the stalwarts of MMA highlight Twitter. Those brave souls who watch pretty much each and every event available and send out all the best moments to the masses. This week Jolassanda and Kyle Johnson did the bulk of the heavy lifting, so give them a follow and you’ll be sure to never miss a moment of combat sports action.
The biggest promotion in J-MMA returned this week with another mix of MMA, kickboxing, and Pride vibes. No titles were on the line, but former UFC title contender Kyoji Horiguchi returned to take on original UFC flyweight tournament contestant Ian McCall in the main event. Oh, and there was Tenshin violence.
Flyweight Kyoji Horiguchi moved to 24-2, dropping Ian McCall with a left hook in under 10 seconds to take the win, and to push McCall’s record down to 13-7.
Tenshin Nasukawa picked up four knockdowns in two rounds to dispatch Yusaku Nakamura, the biggest highlight being a sweet rolling thunder.
And the finish.
Lightweight Daron Cruickshank (20-10) picked up his second straight win with a left high kick to the jaw off a clinch break on Koshi Matsumoto (19-8) that sent the man sprawling.
ACB 86: Risov vs. Balaev
Absolute Championship Berkut put three belts on the line this week, including a unification bout, where interim champ Yusup Raisov grabbed the featherweight belt from Marat Balaev. All three of the headlining fights finished by submission, but the card also featured an all-time-great highlight KO, along with a lot more solid action.
Welterweight Ciro Rodrigues took his record to 22-7 with a hellacious right elbow off a clinch break against Beslan Isaev, who dropped to 37-10... and probably lost a few memories in the process.
Lightweight Denis Kanakov (9-1) opened the event with a perfect right uppercut to send Abdul Azim Badakhshi (8-2) off to the spirit realm.
Denis Kanakov drops Super Fight League's Abdul Azim Badakhshi with an uppercut, polishing him off for the first-round finish. It is Kanakov's seventh TKO in nine victories. #ACB86 pic.twitter.com/y2i38OiGHO— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) May 5, 2018
The classic Canadian promotion put on a pair of title fights this week, with Marc-Andre Berriault and Jesse Arnett defending their titles for the first time. Former UFC fighter Jonathan Meunier also had his first bout since defeating Richard Walsh at UFC Fight Night Whittaker vs. Brunson, and heavyweight prospect Adam Dyczka returned from suspension.
Marc-André Barriault boulders past Brendan Kornberger, as the Quebecois bolts him with an elbow and finishes on the ground! Barriault (10-1) extends his winning streak to seven; he is still your TKO Middleweight Champion! #TKO43 pic.twitter.com/lc9mIM5tJS— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) May 5, 2018
Heavyweight Adam Dyczka (8-0) continued to look like a prospect on the rise with a perfect right hand that had Icho Larenas (6-6) clicking his heels in the hope he’d wake up back Kans... er, Argentina.
WFCA 48: Zhamaldaev vs. Khasbulaev 2
The showcase promotion for Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov is a troubling platform to further the political leader’s agenda behind popular sports. And yet it still features a lot of notable rising and established talent putting together some action packed moments.
Welterweight Murad Abdulaev jumped to 16-6 behind a surprise wheel kick and followup strikes that eventually had the ref stepping in to wave it off. Goity Dazaev fell to 7-1 with his first professional loss.
Middleweight Magomed Geroev (9-2) placed a sharp right hand that got Oscar Sosa (12-2) dancing just seconds into round 1.
Magomed Geroev KOs Oscar Sosa in 20 seconds— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 4, 2018
(WFCA 48) pic.twitter.com/bQevyyPEHD
Flyweight Mehman Mamedov broke even at 3-3, flashing a lighting quick 1-2 to drop Abdulkhakim Medzhidov, who landed at 1-2 after the KO.
Mehman Mamedov KOs Abdulkhakim Medzhidov— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 4, 2018
(WFCA 48) pic.twitter.com/1emlD6ZeHW
LFA 39: Heinisch vs. Checco
Middleweight Ian Heinisch (10-1) took the Legacy Fighting Alliance 185 lb interim title with a right hand on the ear of Gabriel Checco (10-3) in round 1, and some follow-up strikes to seal it. A LFA belt could mean a UFC call-up is coming soon.
AND NEWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! @HeinischIan WINS VIA FIRST ROUND KNOCK OUTTTTTTTT @LFAfighting on @AXSTVFights!!!!!! #FactoryX #Xonthechest #LFA39 @coachMMontoya @LandowPerform @JimWalter216 @ufc @danawhite pic.twitter.com/otoaNsmiAZ— Factory X (@FactoryXMTMMA) May 5, 2018
Kickboxing & Muay Thai
Leo Corales landed a gorgeous right high kick that shut Gustavo Piacentini down at WGP 45.
esso brutal ! head kick KO— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 6, 2018
Leo Corales KOs Gustavo Piacentini (WGP 45) pic.twitter.com/3x0Q0vUS67
Luis Francischinelli showcased an array of gorgeous high kicks to put away Marcos Carvalho at WGP 45.
Luis Francischinelli kicks— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 6, 2018
this frotal was excellent (WGP 45) pic.twitter.com/zd7q0MQoks
Haruaki Otsuki went to war with Yuma Yamaguchi before landing a huge left hook that caused a full system crash at Knock Out Muay Thai.
in The Main Event of KnockOut Otsuki won by 2R T/KO - HL pic.twitter.com/WQwSM303a6— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 3, 2018
Yoshiho Tane landed the kind of spinning back elbow on Masa Bravely at Knock Out Muay Thai that I can feel in my teeth every time I see this clip.
beautiful spinning hellbow KO from Yoshiho Tane— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 3, 2018
Phoenixx Sho made short work of an obviously overwhelmed Norihisa Isencho, eventually dropping him with a hard left at Knock Out Muay Thai.
Phoenixx Sho KOd his opponent in about 1 minute— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 3, 2018
Kazuma Takahashi delivered all the knees to Keisuke Miyamoto at Knock Out Muay Thai.
this was fast— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 3, 2018
28 s KO by Kazuma Takahashi (KnockOut) pic.twitter.com/2pyAtyZZmg
Petchnumchai Sitpoopanaod landed a crushing right elbow to end his fight right before the horn at Max Muay Thai.
beautiful hellbow KO— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 5, 2018
by Petchnumchai Sitpoopanaod (with 7 seconds left to the end of the fight)
(Max Muay Thai - The Champion) pic.twitter.com/LzuL6tKdvq
Petchtrankarn Nor. Anuwatgym laid his opponent gently to rest with a left high kick at Max Muay Thai.
and he calmly went down— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 4, 2018
head kick KO by Petchtrankarn Nor.Anuwatgym
(the best KO at today's The Battle MT) pic.twitter.com/g7bcB9K7Ec
Wanchainoi Petchnongkee landed the body knee KO on Petchallnew Krudamgym at Max Muay Thai.
muaythai knees today— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) May 1, 2018
Wanchainoi Petchnongkee KOs Petchallnew Krudamgym
(Muay Thai Fighter ) pic.twitter.com/xnOuQyH9XH
Cruiserweight Tony Bellew moved to 30-2-1 with a 5th round TKO over David Haye, who fell to 28-4, after dropping Haye twice.
Middleweight Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) retained his WBA, WBC, and IBO titles, blasting Edmond Tarverdayn trained Vanes Martirosyan (36-4-1) inside two rounds.
That’s all this week. But we’ll be back on June 17, the next time the UFC has a gap in their schedule. Until then, get yourself to MMA twitter, so that you never miss a moment of combat sports action from around the world.