By: King Eddie
Are there any words to describe this night, Hawaii? Are there any words at all? For the first time in the history of the UFC, 3 Hawaii fighters competed on the same card. And on this occasion, they not only swept the competition, they finished them all in fantastic fashion. The description that follows below, illuminate a night that will echo forever in the legacy of MMA in Hawaii.
The card kicked off with a pure bred monster entering the cage. That beast goes by the name of Russell Doane. Having long awaited his Octagon debut, Doane did not disappoint. Taking on a decorated BJJ World Champion, Leandro Issa, Doane evolved with his rise in competition. As the fight began, it was clear what Doane wanted to do... take Issa's head clean off. But the hometown fighter, Issa, had other plans. After eating Doane's overhands, Issa looked for the ground game. Throughout the first round, Russell continued to follow his namesake by bullying his opponent around the cage. Even when danger loomed in the form of Issa's triangle, Doane kept his composure. Working with whatever space he was given, Doane backed Issa against the cage and eliminated many options for the finish. As the first round closed out, Doane had survived over a minute in the triangle of a ground ace.
When the bell rang for the second round, Doane was nodding in agreement to sound advice from Ron Jhun. True to form, Doane went into the second round following his gameplan. Throwing bombs right on target, Doane visibly shook, rattled, and rolled Issa into a backpedaling mess. With flying knees and sprawls, Doane's timing and body position control was shining bright when it counted. As the two ended the round on the mat, Doane locked in a triangle of his own. . and just as the bell sounded, the limp and motionless body of his opponent was revealed to the crowd. At the very last second of the second frame, Doane had claimed the first victory in Hawaii's war in Singapore. Not only did he take his UFC debut by storm. . . Doane put a world champ grappler to sleep, and awoke a legacy all his own.
In the second fight of the night, Dustin Kimura came to the cage with a craving for a finish. His opponent, Jon Delos Reyes, apparently ached for the same result. Both men took the center of the cage with force. Delos Reyes started off the exchange with hard shots landed. As Kimura dusted off a few power shots of his own, Delos Reyes uncorked a big one. Though seemingly staggered, the fight was far from over for Kimura. When the action hit the mat, the clinic began. Effortlessly transitioning from submission to submission, Kimura read and reworked his postition to counter his opponents furious search for strikes. Though Delos Reyes was ready for war, Kimura disarmed him. . . literally. Catching an arm and refusing to lose, Kimura even re-adjusted mid attempt in order to lock in and solidify his second finish in the UFC. Battle number 2 of Hawaii's War in Singapore had been won.
With a much needed break, the Hawaii fans were given several fights worth of time to recover their heart rate. Apparently Max Holloway didn't get the tweet that our hearts were about to explode. Not only did Holloway steal the show with a TKO, he stole our breath in the process. His lengthy opponent, Will Chope, actually felt he was in control for a few minutes in the first. But what he didn't realize was that the young Max Holloway was merely studying up. After an entire round of reaching, reading, and testing the waters, Holloway finally felt the urgency to unleash the onslaught. In the closing minute of the first, "Blessed" took any comfort and relaxation away from Chope with a relentless flurry after relentless furry. Taking full control of the round, Max likely stole not only the judges scorecards, but his opponents will to win.
As round 2 unfolded, it was clear that Chope was no longer within his own mind. Holloway released the full power of his entire arsenal. Spinning, punching, kicking, kneeing, and throwing his weight, Holloway didn't just overwhelm his opponent. . . he embarrassed him. Resembling an attack dog off it's leash, Holloway attacked relentlessly to the body, head, and legs of chope. With an awe-inspiring spinning back kick to the body, the wind flew out of Chope's lungs and never returned. Aftera little time passed Holloway managed his way back into a position to strike. Following up with punches to the body was probably unnecessary, as Holloway scores a walk-off TKO and likely a double-bonus worthy fight of the night!
Remember this night Hawaii. The new wave, the new generation, the new legacy of MMA in Hawaii has arrived. We are proud of our warriors who competed at UFC Fight Night 34, and we look forward to the army we have waiting in the wings to get the same opportunity to display the warrior spirit to the world.