By: King Eddie
Star Elite Cagefighting and Man Up & Stand Up delivered the goods last night. As per usual, the card was stacked with action packed fights from some of the best amateur kickboxers from around Hawaii. There was literally no dip in the fireworks from start to finish. Titles were won, strikes were traded, and the crowd was pleased.
Opening the action, the youth of the Hawaii Kickboxing scene took to the ring. Never a dull moment, there was proof in motion that the kids of Hawaii are mastering Martial Arts at a very young age. When compared to some of the older fighters, these kids really knew what they were doing. It was a seamless transition into the more seasoned vetereans meeting in the ring.
In most cases, I would sit and break down the highlight fights, but in this case there were so many, it would be nearly impossible to fit it on one page. In truth, I have been covering these events for years now, and to see how much these fighters have grown, it nearly brings a tear to my eye. The pure and incomparable talent that flows here in Hawaii was very present tonight.
My honorable mention fight of the night was Joe Hopps and Brysen Bolohao. These two warriors came to fight. They began their bout with a few fast exchanges, and throughout each round, many of their shots went unseen. Had I not looked a little closer at my photos, I wouldn't have seen some either. The body shots from both men was phenominal. There were several sneaky strikes that I'm sure surprised both men. In this contest, it appeared to be the power and precision of Hopps against the speed and vison of Bolohao. Round after round, the two men fired back and forth with waves of kicks and punches that would have floored many other fighters. Each man proved that they are worthy to take on anyone in the division. But in the end, the fight was called a draw. There were no losers inside the ring, or outside looking in. An entertaining fight, and a very clear glimpse at the future of the sport.
The Co-Main Event was ferocious to say the very least. Chante Stafford and Dennis Montira put on an absolute clinic. There was passion behind each punch through the entire bout. Though the Super-Bantamweight Title was on the line, for Stafford and Montira, it seemed to be more. The speed that was showcased could make a lightening bolt look like a snail. Intricately weaving through one anothers shots like diamond theives through a web of lasers, it couldn't have been better even if it were choreographed. But as with all fights, somebody had to get hit. First Montira would land, then Stafford would follow with a couple of his own. Next Stafford would lead off with a kick, Montira would follow with a flurry. The two traded at an exhausting pace from opening to closing bell, and when the dust settled, Stafford stood with his hand raised as the new Champ.
In the Main Event, Robert "The Beast" Banis and Isaac Hopps teamed up to collectively blow the minds of everyone in attendance. There is almost no other way to describe it. As expected, neither man was of the backing down variety. They met toe to toe. Hopps would land big power, right on the button, but in a flash of fists and feet, Banis would answer with a charging flurry. The first round, in my eyes, likely went to Banis. He pressed forward with some unstoppable strikes, and found a home for his vicious attack over and over again. The second round however, was an entirely different story. Hopps pressed the action. He established his power. He established his range, and he went to work with it. Banis answered back with counter shots and would occasionally press with kicks, but the second round belonged to Isaac Hopps. Round number three was where the magic happened. Banis took on a calm, almost Bruce Lee-like stance. His combinations became more and more fluid as he flowed through punches and some pretty outstanding kicks. The Beast duseted off a few aerial kicks that he is known for, and Hopps answered back with punches. But when the final bell rang, the judges saw the fight in the favor of Banis. And amazing fight between to complete superstars.
Overall, "Uproar" turned out to deliver even more than promised. Thank you to all the amazing warriors who put on a heart pouding show. And congratulations to all fighters for proving once again that the future of fight sports in Hawaii is brighter than ever.