By: King Eddie
King Of The Cage: Ali'is proved to be a fantastic showing Hawaii fighters. Our true and dedicated corps of MMA warriors was on full display in every single bout and there wasn't a single fan who witnessed the fights that didn't leave with a whole new swell of pride for island fighting.
In a fashion we have loved him for over the years, Falaniko Vitale handled his opponent, Elmer Waterhen, within the first stanza with his amazing strength and power. Vitale used his veteran status to elude the power shots of Waterhen and capitalize on multiple openings to inflict damage. After dropping waterhen early in the round, Vitale found yet another opening to put his opponent on the mat. But the second time, Waterhen was never able to recover to his feet. Niko applied maximum pressure with repeated strikes, causing the fight to reach it's conclusion in the very first round. With the belt around his waist, Vitale raised his hand in victory not only for himself, but for all of Hawaii. It seems only fitting to have a legend such as Vitale as the King Of The Cage Superfight Champ.
Frank Baca was the KOTC champ when he arrived to Hawaii, but local boy, Russel Doane, made sure that he left empty handed. In a furious fight that saw back and forth action, Doane imposed blow after blow upon the champ. It was clear that Baca couldn't really find a rhythm he was comfortable with due to the ability of Doane to strike at any time in any way. Though Baca managed to get Doane to the ground a couple of times, it did more damage to his ego than to Doanes score. Baca had absolutely nothing for Doane on the mat. And while standing, Russel handed combo after combo to the chin and liver of his opponent. When the battle was over and the smoke cleared, a new champion stood with his hand in the air and the belt around his waist.
In undercard action, Arnold Berdon and Mark Tupas but on an absolute clinic of heart and skill. Neither fighter wanted to give in to the constant pressure of their opponent. Arnold would push forward with powerful straights and hooks, and Tupas would answer right back. Both warriors were shaken at times, but neither gave in. As the first two rounds came to a close, the crowd screamed for another round. The judges saw it the same way. Throughout the third round it was much like the first two, back and forth. Punches and kicks landed clean for both Berdon and Tupas, but the entire fight seemed to come down to the final seconds when a last second knockdown clinched the fight. Berdon's hand was raised in victory, but both fighters won. The crowd will never forget such a war. Truly an amazing display by both fighters.
Though the first fight of the show, Joey Balai and Chas Dunhour put up a worthy fight of the night candidate IMMEDIATELY. Both fighters set a standard for the rest of the night as they battled back and forth with fists of thunderous fury, and heart that goes for miles. Each was bloodied early in the first, but they battled on through the scheduled two rounds and took in to the thrid. Dunhour had fantastic takedowns and looked to get Balai to the ground and finish him there, but Joey Balai of TCK had different plans. Though caught in a few bad situations, Balai never gave up. Though rocked with hard shots,Dunhour always answered back. But in the final seconds of the third round, Balai pulled out an amazing submission victory that would have the fans cheering nearly as loud as they did during the main event. Two amazing warriors came into the cage to open the show, and each left with heads held high as the tone was set for the rest of the night. They were indeed a tough act to follow.
Overall the night was amazing for MMA in Hawaii. From the top of the card to the bottom, our local fighters proved that MMA is alive and well on the islands, alongside sportsmanship, brotherhood, and respect. All of which were demonstrated throughout the night. Great job by all of the fighters. We are so very proud of you all.