Ready to rumble

More than 1,000 spectators filled the Kilohana Mansion to cheer on homegrown fighters in a mixed-martial arts and kickboxing spectacle.

“Mayhem At Da Mansion 5: Unleash Da Beast,” which was hosted by Ainofea Productions, was Sunday night in Puhi.

“The crowd loved it. When I do the matchmaking, I always try to make it as tight as possible,” said Vance Pascua, president and CEO of Ainofea Productions. “This is why I started it. I wanted the local talent to have a venue to step up and participate in front of their family and friends.

“They have a hard time getting on cards on Oahu — outside of Kauai,” he continued. “So, I wanted something for them to have a stepping stone.”

In the night’s main event, Maki Pitolo, representing West Oahu MMA, got a first-round technical knockout over Pono Pananganan of Kauai Technical Institute in a 170-pound pro MMA bout.

Pitolo landed some head shots to stun Pananganan. As his opponent was on the mat, Pitolo kept punching until the referee stopped the contest.

“It was really satisfying. Hard work pays off,” Pitolo said of his TKO victory. “Came through a couple of adversities, but I looked over it and looked at the No. 1 goal, which was to finish the fight.”

“I always look for the finish,” he added. “KO, submission, TKO, whatever it is, if it’s in my sight, I’m going to take it.”

Pascua expressed high regards for both fighters who headlined the main card.

“My champion (Pitolo) is what you saw. He’s a great champion, and his opponent is just as great,” he said. “Now, they build on what they’ve learned and they move on to better themselves.”

Fight of the Night honors went to a heavyweight amateur MMA match between Dustin Ah Quin of Freelance Kauai and Wilson Kauakahi of Team West Side Underground. The bout was highlighted by bloodied faces, intense staredowns and both fighters swinging for the fences.

Ah Quin got the armlock in the second round to earn a submission victory.

“What was going through my head was my breathing. I wasn’t scared because of his face or what,” said Kauakahi, who is from Kekaha. “I was waiting for him to swing.”

“Plenty butterflies and adrenaline going. That’s about it,” he added about fighting in his first MMA match. “My first fight, but it’s not my last fight. Now, I know what I got to work on — more cardio and more breathing.”

In the night’s only bout to feature female fighters, Crystal Joy Yap of New Breed got a split decision victory over Maggie Grindatti of Gracie KTeam in a 140-pound amateur kickboxing bout.

Yap landed wide hooks to her opponent’s head en route getting the decision.

“I thought we both put up a good fight. I honestly thought it was fair. We were both equal,” Yap said, who is originally from Virginia but has lived on Kauai for the past two years. “I felt really confident. It was my first fight where I was actually calm.”

“(The wide hooks), it naturally happens. You try to be about technique, but you got to throw what you can,” she added. “When she punches, she kind of pushes. So, you have to get in there when you can. You can’t just wait to get inside.”

Pascua said the MMA event is usually an annual outing, but was held off last year because he was dealing with an ACL injury. He said he’s happy to be back in the fold.

“Just the energy with everybody here. The community turnout and the sponsors, that’s why I do it,” he said.

Pascua added he hopes to hold another event sometime this year — possibly by the end of summer.

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