Kaua‘i’s MMA March madness continued Saturday night with the Uprising Kaua‘i Knockout Championship IV. With the Warpath to the Mansion taking place earlier in March and now KKC IV, I don’t know if Kauaians know how lucky we are to have two well-organized MMA venues for our young men and women to showcase their fighting talents. If you don’t know much about mixed martial arts competitions you must come to one of these venues. I promise you will be hooked. I think with some folks MMA gets a bad rap, but these young competitors give their heart and soul to this sport. Days, weeks, months and years go into their training so they can do their best. Most of these fighters are very humble and respectful because their coaches demand it. This sport keeps our young men and women off the street, away from alcohol and drugs and in the gym training. My hat goes off to every coach out there. They spend well over 60 hours a week working and training their camps. Another hat off to the fighters for working and forcing themselves to the gym for another two to four hours of a grueling workout.
Let’s get on to what went down Saturday night at a completely sold out War Memorial.
FIGHT 1: A 125-pound kickboxing bout showcasing two young women, Chelsea Pabo with Disciples of Puhi against Joreen Maru from O‘ahu. Both came out for blood, swinging and kicking hard and fast with Pabo winning a hard-fought split decision.
FIGHT 2: A 170-pound Pankration bout with Bear Baily with Boars Nest against Zack Vea with Sit You Down Fight School. This was a good fight, but Baily came out looking like a seasoned fighter and displayed too much technical skill winning a unanimous decision.
FIGHT 3: A 145-pound MMA fight had Keola Ventar with Powerline Fight School fighting Bobby Cummings of Disciples of Puhi. This fight showcased some great technical ground skills. Kaua‘i understands the importance of a good ground game and it showed by the cheering. Ventar just had too much in this fight and won by unanimous decision.
FIGHT 4: A 175-pound MMA bout had Brandon Wong of Disciples of Puhi fighting Justin Stiles with Powerline Fight School. This fight showed stand-up skills with some nice jabs and combinations from both fighters. Unfortunately, it was stopped after the first round due to a cut above Wong’s eye giving Justin Stiles the win.
FIGHT 5: A 125-pound MMA bout with Kylan Gandia against Daniel Jones with 808 Fight Factory. You couldn’t blink on this one. First, the speedy Gandia got the takedown, then took Jones back and quickly sunk in the rear naked choke hold for the win.
FIGHT 6: A 165-pound MMA bout with Kalen Laranio with Powerline Fight School facing Hiromine Ito with Chris Leben Fight School. Hiromine Ito sunk in a keylock and submitted Kalen for the victory.
FIGHT 7: A 205-pound bout giving us Pauly Boy Apilado Jr. with Disciples of Puhi fighting Mark Rita. These guys were hitting so hard I almost got knocked out, and I wasn’t even in the ring. Mark Rita’s eye was so swollen after the second round, he couldn’t see and couldn’t continue, giving Apilado Jr. the TKO win.
FIGHT 8: A 155-pound MMA fight had Rubin Texeira with Powerline Fight School facing Mark Ortega, a Kaua‘i Freelance fighter. This was just another great fight, showing some really nice skills both in their standup and on the ground. Nevertheless, it had to end and it did with Texeira submitting Ortega with a rear naked choke hold in the second round.
FIGHT 9: A 155-pound MMA had Cody Young a Freelance Kaua‘i fighter against Daniel Ige with Sunset Beach Jiu-Jitsu. This fight kept everybody on their feet with nice technical skills, hard hits and some knees that would separate most people’s legs from their bodies. Ige won via a third round KO.
FIGHT 10: A 170-pound MMA bout had Ed Garces with Boars Nest fighting Mike Eli with Legacy Combat. This fight had everybody at ringside saying “fight of the night.” I couldn’t help thinking how lucky I was to be watching these two fighters in person. I could talk about this bout forever, but just like this article, the fight had to end. Yes, there was a winner, but there was no loser. It was that good. Garces defeated Eli via an unanimous decision.
FIGHT 11: A 185-pound MMA bout gave us Isaac Worth, a Kaua‘i Freelance fighter vs Leon Klee with Legacy Combat. I am sorry Isaac, but I have to say this: It might not have been the most technical fight of the night but, my gosh, it was very entertaining. Yes, some folks thought this was the fight of the night and yes, it was a very good fight. I thought at first Klee might take it, but Isaac just doesn’t run out of gas. Isaac Worth won a three round Decision. I think Issac has the capability and raw talent to be one of the best fighters anywhere if he wants it.
FIGHT 12: A 135-pound MMA fight had Dominic Barretto with Kaua‘i Pankration against Bill Takeuchi with Mad Tiger. Bill Takeuchi was in total control during this entire fight. It appears Dominic did suffer three low blows in the first round, but he kept going and Takeuchi finished Dominic off in the second round via rear naked choke hold.
FIGHT 13: A 170-pound MMA fight giving us Weston Victorina with Disciples of Puhi versus Justin Barit with North Shore MMA. I gave this fight “knockout of the night.” Both fighters came out looking great with some very nice movement and some killer kicks. Victorino wins by getting “KO of the nigh”t in the first round.
FIGHT 14: In the main event, we had 155-pound MMA match up of Justyn Perreira with No Way Fight Skool against Jonah Vistante with Sit You Down Fight School. This fight was a war that could have gone either way. Both fighters showed awesome skills and a lot of heart. For every kick Justyn landed, Jonah landed a combination. I have to say, Vistante had some of the best combinations of the night. I didn’t want this fight to end, but it did after a full three rounds. Perreira winning the KKC 155-pound title belt with a three-round Split Decision. Not only did Justyn win the fight, he also won the hand of his girlfriend. After his hard fought battle, he showed how big his heart is by calling his girlfriend into the middle of the ring, dropping down to one knee and proposing. She said YES!
I just want to thank all the fighters and coaches that put so much in to their training and not only showcase their skills but also their hearts. I know the competitors that lose in these match-ups feel really bad, but to us fans there are no real losers, only true competitors.
Stay tuned for the next article, where I will cover a premier fight camp here on Kaua‘i, New Breed.