Here we go kicking off Kaua‘i’s Mixed Martial Arts version of March madness with Vance Pascua’s Warpath to Mayhem, Rumble at the Resort. With nine fights on the card at the Kaua‘i Beach Resort, it was a much smaller venue from what we are used to from Vance. But Vance spared no cost to ensure an enjoyable evening by bringing in some big names to help give us as much excitement as possible — like UFC’s own, Chris “The Crippler” Leben with three of his fighters on the card. Vance’s idea is to start the fighters off with a smaller venue so they can get used to fighting in front of an audience and to make them work their way up to Mayhem at the Mansion. The ring was set up in the middle of the room which ensured everyone had a good view of the action, I sat about half way back and I could feel the fighter’s heart beating — oh wait, that was mine. OK, let’s get on to the action:
Fight one had Joe Gogo out of Chris Leben Fight School winning a first round TKO against Kylan Gandia from Full Armor.
Fight two gave us Bull Pen’s Cody Santos, who couldn’t make weight, forcing Kaua‘i Pankration’s Dominic Barretto to fight at 142 pounds instead of his scheduled 135 pounds. Dominic suffered a devastating first-round TKO. Dominic’s disappointment was evident as he stated he really wanted to show his coach, Jason Lagmay and Chris Leben what he could do. Dominic’s coach said his fighter has two more chances this month to prove himself. This is Dominic’s first loss.
Fight Three was arguably the fight of the night, with Hawaiian Fighting Arts’ Raymond Banda winning a very close fight over Chris Leben Fight School’s Nile Grinpas. Grinpas took two very hard blows to the chin in the early seconds of the first round that rocked the fighter to his knees, but he quickly regained his composure and the fight was on — a slug fest on the feet and excellent ground skills when it went to the mat. This fight was all about heart, and both fighters showed a lot of it, but somebody had to win.
And Raymond won the three-round decision. Unfortunately, it took about five minutes to get the final decision to the ring, and the audience was getting antsy and bored.
Fight Four had Kaylan Gorospe with Chris Leben Fight School fighting Full Armor’s Garren Millare. The fight seemed to be a bit slow to the untrained eye, but actually displayed great technical ground skill. Millare pulled out a three round one point victory.
Fight Five competed against fight Three for the fight of the night with Timmy Teves of New Breed going against Pablo Garcia with Nu Era JJ. After a three-round slobber knocker, Teves pulled out a one-point victory. The announcement received many boos from the hardened audience as the overall consensus had the fight two rounds to one for Garcia, including me.
Fight Six had Jacob Leota with Hawaiian Fighting Arts versus Kapena Cummings with KTI —two heavy weights that once in the ring looked like they might have had only a couple of feet to move around. Kapena won in a three-round decision. I just have to add this as an observation from a partially trained eye: Kapena, please stop dropping your head every time you shoot for the takedown, and Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, please learn the upper cut.
Fight Seven gave us Full Armor’s Kapeli Tam taking on Edmon Marshall with KOA-California. Kapeli won when his opponent tapped out via a second-round rear choke . Kapeli was a heavy crowd favorite.
Fight Eight had Paul DeSoto with Hawaiian MMA fighting Nalu Hawelu from New Breed. Even though this fight only lasted one round, it showed a lot of technical skill and was very exciting with Paul DeSoto tapping out with mere seconds left in the first round to give Hawelu the victory.
Fight Nine was without a doubt a top-three fight with Hawaiian MMA Hilo’s Keenin Cohen fighting Hawaiian Fighting Arts Las Vegas Junior Gomez. This fight was better than some may have seen. When you watch it on tape, you will see Keenin getting knocked out in the first round, but he was able to recover so quickly, the referee did not notice.
This one went all the way into the third round when Keenin sunk in a choke-hold causing Junior to tap out. I think Junior was better in stand-up, and it was obvious Keenin thought so, as well, as he continuously took the fight to the ground, and it paid off.
After talking with several of the fans, fighters and coaches, it seems that the overall experience was good. The accommodations were a little small for the crowd. There were several people who did not have a seat, and it got pretty warm inside. At times the proceedings seemed to be lost, and I heard on several occasions, “Man, I’m going to fall asleep”, or “Come nn”. But let us not forget Vance wanted a smaller venue for the fighters and it is a live show, and one lucky fan did walk away with a very nice paddle board. On top of this, Vance ensures that a majority of any profit goes back into the community. This was a very fun, clean, athletic family-oriented event that gives back to our community. Kaua‘i Beach Resort did an outstanding job accommodating all the fans with outstanding hosting. At the end of it all I have to say, Hey I’m in, thanks, Vance. I can’t wait for the big one, Mayhem at the Mansion, later this year!