(When Bruno Carvalho told Marius Zaromskis about his secret foot fetish as a child, he never expected that it would be used against him some twenty years later.)
When you’ve followed MMA for as long as we have, you can’t help but often feel as if you’ve seen it all in terms of striking techniques in the ring. Sure, every now again some dude will nearly cartwheel kick some other dude’s face off, or springboard off the cage and almost kick some dude’s face off, but for the most part, it’s your standard display of roundhouse kicks, knees, and punches that do most of the damage come fight night (not that we’re complaining).
Until you come upon the somersault kick, that is, as demonstrated by Marius Zaromskis in the above video. You see, the somersault kick is a move so dangerous, so batshit insane, that you’d have to be high on bath salts to even consider attempting to pull it off. Hence why it was first popularized by Harold Howard and has been responsible for over 453 deaths worldwide since 1998.
So you’ll forgive us for acting a bit hysterical while delivering this news, but it appears as if someone out there was not only crazy enough to attempt this maneuver in competition on two separate occasions over the course of a month, but successfully landed the kick both times, knocking out both of his opponents in the process.
See for yourself.
His name is Michael Balakirev. He’s Russian, obviously, because who else in their right mind would challenge death to a chess match twice?
This kick is the more gentle of the two — meaning it didn’t completely obliterate the victim’s face like Gallagher does a watermelon — and occurred at a Russian kickboxing/MMA event at the end of September. As you can see, although it is not a clean knockout, it still makes the victim go fetal before Balakirev can even land a follow up shot. It’s truly awe-inspiring, especially when you consider that just one month earlier, this 18 year old assassin pulled off an even better one…
Sir, you just got butt slammed. *cues manic monkey*
Although you were likely caught up in the pure genius of the move (and trying to calm your half chub), rewind the video to the six second mark and pause it. Here you will see that not only did this kid attempt what we will now call “The Invincible Somersault Kick of Total Annihilation”, he was actually competent enough to grab his opponents ankle mid flip to ensure that he couldn’t back out of harm’s way. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. What was less than brilliant, however, was the ref’s insistence that the unconscious fighter walk it off before he actually could stand without assistance. Then again, the ref could have woke him up and told him to get ready for round 2.