Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Hometown favorite Kala Kolohe Hose captured the vacant ICON Sport middleweight title with a fifth round stoppage of UFC and PRIDE veteran Phil Baroni in what turned out to be an exhausting war for both fighters and those in attendance inside the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.
Going against his traditional style, Baroni immediately shot in for a takedown to start the fight. Swiftly transitioning back and forth between half-guard and side control, Baroni easily controlled Hose and landed strikes from the top position while his opponent squirmed around, looking for some way to get the fight back up to the feet.
As the round progressed, Baroni visibly began to lose steam, allowing Hose to mount a small attack from the bottom and at least give the judges something to think about during the break.
Baroni scored another takedown at the start of the second round but found himself trying to fight off a kimura midway through. Baroni eventually let Hose stand up and the two exchanged on the feet for the first time in the fight. Baroni tried for another takedown moments later but Hose was able to stuff it and wound up on top. Hose pounded on Baroni but his attack was halted after being warned for an illegal punch to the back of Baroni’s head moments before the round ended.
“Coming into the fight, I knew Baroni had been working on his wrestling a lot,” Hose said after the fight. “When I would grapple in the gym, we would constantly work on my back, different submissions and standing back up.”