LIHUE — The fighters are weighed in. Now, the big show is upon us.
Local mixed-martial arts promotion “Kauai Cage 17: The Return” is set for tonight at Hanapepe Stadium. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
“The cage is up at the stadium,” said promoter Vance Pasuca on Friday. “The chairs are being put down now, and now it’s go time. Everybody is here to do it. I got three belts on the line. (It’s been) nine years since we’ve been at Hanapepe Stadium, so it’s long overdue.”
Fourteen bouts are scheduled for the MMA showcase put on by Ainofea Productions and RK Sports.
The main event is a 150-pound professional MMA bout featuring local fighter Fatu Tuitasi of Wailua.
“I’m really excited, as always. I’m ready to go,” said Tuitasi, representing Freelance Kauai. “If you like action, this is where you got to be. This is where it’s going to be, guaranteed.”
Tuitasi fought in the main event of Ainofea’s last showcase “Kauai Cage Match 16: Showdown on the Southshore” in Koloa.
In that 145-pound pro MMA fight, Tuitasi lost via submission. He seeks redemption.
“I like to not give up,” Tuitasi said. “I like to push thought. I feel some people think I can’t do. So, not to really prove anybody wrong but to prove to myself that I can be better and get better every time I come out here.”
He added: “My last outing, I didn’t come out on top. I lost. I just want to get in there, and flip the tables. Get a win. That’s what it’s all about.”
The event features mostly amateur MMA fights. Also on the card are a couple of amateur kickboxing bouts to begin the night.
Weigh-ins took place Friday afternoon at the Kukui Grove Center. All but one fighter made weight, but will still have time to reach the required weight before tonight.
“I see a lot of potential and up-and-coming fighters,” Pascua said. “I see some really strong bouts that I have no idea which way it’s going to go, which I planned on having. You don’t want to make one-sided matches. So, it’s going to be really interesting to see how it plays out.”
Tuitasi will square off against Zach Zane of Maui Jiu Jitsu and Central Maui Boxing Club. Zane was not available for comment following the weigh-ins.
Pascua said the main event should be a good fight.
“Both of them are hungry,” he said. “I know Fatu had a rough road up to this fight, and Zach is an up-and-comer that wants a belt shot next. I think both of them are ready to bang, and you can see it in their faces.”
He added the bout, as well as many others on the card, is fitting with the title.
“Fatu was the headliner from the last event, and I brought him back to fight again. And I brought the person from Maui, who fought in my show ‘Mayhem at Da Mansion’ in 2007 or 2008,” he said. “That’s why it matches with the title ‘The Return.’ I’m bringing back a lot of fighters from past events, and (the show) is back in Hanapepe Stadium.”
Tickets will be sold at the door at Hanapepe Stadium. Cost is $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP.