LIHUE — Three pro fights, three wins, three stoppages.
Pro mixed martial arts fighter Timothy “War” Teves, 27, fought this past weekend to not only earn another win but also claim another belt.
“It was good, man. My weight cut went good,” Teves said Wednesday in Lihue. “I went to Oahu. … I landed Thursday, the day before weigh-ins. I cut my weight up there. Everything went smooth. I ended up weighing 145 on the dot.”
“On Wednesday, I woke up four pounds away from weight. That’s really good,” he added. “It was easy. For three hours, I was just cruising at the gym, just breaking a sweat lightly. It was an easy weight cut. For fight preparation, it was a two-day event, so I went to the fights on Friday night to check the event — get my mind ready.”
Teves, of Kapahi, won the X1 145-pound featherweight world championship after defeating Niko Novelli, of Alaska, in the co-main event of the second night of X1’s “2 Nights Of Fights” promotion at Aloha Tower in Honolulu on Saturday.
Teves won via submission — a rear naked choke — at about 4 minutes, 20 seconds in the first round, he said.
He added Novelli is a “high-level” brown belt in jiu-jitsu and that his opponent was 7-1 going into Saturday’s fight.
“It was a tough fight. It was going back and forth,” Teves said. “He tried to take me down. He couldn’t get the takedowns, so I kept it (standing). I set a high pace on him. I was up in his face the whole fight. I could see him breaking slowly. He was getting tired. He made a mistake.
“He caught me with a good punch, and he thought he stunned me. He got excited and ran in trying to take me down, and I threw him against the cage. He tried shooting another takedown on me, and I just jump-mounted him. Landed in a mount and got him with some ground-and-pound striking. He turned his back on me, and I slipped the choke in.”
He won his first two fights via technical knockout. The latest was in February, in which he defeated Oahu fighter Ryan Dela Cruz to win the Destiny MMA 145-pound featherweight title.
Though he just has three pro fights so far, Teves feels his call to MMA’s premiere promotion is coming soon.
“This is what I needed. This is a big win for me. I’m considered the No. 1 featherweight in Hawaii right now,” he said. “Now, I need to stay ready at all times. The UFC could call me at any time. My manager at Sucker Punch, they told me I’m on the radar right now.
“They hit up Sean Shelby, the UFC matchmaker. They’re trying their best right now to try and get me to the (Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series) for next season, or sometime soon. I just need a few more wins under my belt. I see myself in the UFC by next year.”
What made the victory sweeter for Teves was that all three of his sons were ringside.
“It felt amazing to have all my kids in my corner this time,” he said. “My last fight, (one of my sons) couldn’t attend. This fight, I had all three of my sons there. It was a great feeling to have my biggest fight of my life and have all three of my sons there to see that.”
Not everyone, however, was able to fly to Oahu. His grandfather couldn’t be ringside this time, though he regularly attends his fights.
To come back home to Kauai and show his grandfather his new piece of hardware, Teves said it “means the world to me.”
“He couldn’t make it because his feet was sore. He has diabetes. He feet had swell up, and he couldn’t make it this time,” he said. “He can walk, but he was sore. And on Oahu, we’re all over the place. So, he couldn’t make it this once.”
He added: “My grandfather, he raised me my whole life. He adopted me, my brother and three of my cousins. His grandchildren, he raised us all. Still raising us. It means the world to me that I could bring the belt back home to my grandfather. I’m carrying on his last name, Teves. He’s very proud of me. They say, ‘It takes a champ to raise a champ.’”
Teves said he’ll next fight in Nov. 17, and it will be for another belt.
He will challenge titleholder Suguru Nii, of Japan, for the X1 155-pound lightweight world championship and attempt to become a two-division champion.
“I got this belt, but just want to make things more interesting,” Teves said of going after another title. “They believe I can beat this guy by the performance that I’ve been displaying. I want to go for it.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.