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.”
The third and fourth rounds saw similar sequences of action. An exhausted Baroni would attempt a takedown but a fresh Hose would easily stuff it, wind up on top, and dish out punishment to his opponent. Baroni had a point deducted in the fourth after trying to flee from Hose’s assault by sliding under the ropes multiple times. Baroni finally executed a takedown late in the fourth but Hose was easily able to sweep Baroni and stand back up.
The fight seemed to be going the distance but Hose rocked Baroni with a combination seconds into the round. Hose pounced on Baroni with a barrage of punches, kicks, and stomps before referee Chris West decided to halt the proceedings.
“Baroni is a really tough guy,” Hose said. “I know he hits hard so I wanted to control his right hand, which is his power hand. I constantly made him throw from his weak side and the strategy worked as he really didn’t connect with that many hard shots.”
Baroni was taken to a local hospital for observation after the fight.
Former professional boxer turned mixed martial artist Jeremy Williams made quick work of opponent Auggie Padeken in the second to last bout of the night. Padeken scored an early takedown but Williams was able to get back to his feet and swiftly scored a knockout moments later.
Bronson Pieper dominated Sadhu Bott for the majority of the first round of their ICON Sport state featherweight title bout but an active guard eventually allowed Bott to secure a fight-ending armbar with less than thirty seconds left in the first stanza.
Last-minute injury replacement Russell Doane scored an impressive knockout win over Tyson Nam in a bantamweight bout. Ross Ebanez bounced back from a devastating loss to Eddie Alvarez in January, needing only nine seconds to stop opponent Brennan Kamaka with strikes.
Complete event results are below:
Kala Kolohe Hose def. Phil Baroni - TKO (Strikes)
Jeremy Williams def. Auggie Padeken - KO (Punch)
Sadhu Bott def. Bronson Pieper - Submission (Armbar)
Russell Doane def. Tyson Nam - TKO (Strikes)
Koa Ramos def. Wayne Perrin - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Ross Ebanez def. Brennan Kamaka - TKO (Corner Stoppage)
PJ Dean def. Eddie Rincon - Unanimous Decision
Matt Comeau def. Elias De Los Reyes - TKO (Strikes)
Alan Lima def. David Padilla - Unanimous Decision
Dwayne Haney def. Zach Rapal - Submission (Guillotine)
Ricky Wallace def. Brandon Pieper - Submission (Guillotine)
Jay Bolos def. Nui Wheeler - Submission (Armbar)
Kona Ke def. Micah Ige - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)