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Friday, July 22, 2005
Mayhem’s in town
Jason Miller has made a habit of beating some of Hawaii's best fighters, and he's looking to add another name to the list.
"Mayhem" (11-4) defends his welterweight title against Mark Moreno (6-5-2) as part of SuperBrawl: ICON tomorrow night at the Blaisdell Center.
In the main event, Niko Vitale (20-3) defends the middleweight championship against Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (8-3).
It's Vitale's first fight since his stunning knockout of Masanori Suda in April.
While Miller is eager to defend his title, his fight against Moreno is about more than just a belt.
In a win against Honolulu's Ronald Jhun last October at SuperBrawl 37 at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, Miller had Jhun trapped in a reverse naked choke. As the referee was about to signal the end, a melee ensued in the ring, with a couple of fighters coming to Jhun's aid, where Miller eventually was punched in the back of the head by Moreno.
"I had no idea who hit me, but it was caught on video," Miller said. "I just think it's a dishonorable thing to punch somebody in the back of the head. I mean I can understand if you're defending your buddy more than being just some random idiot, but they weren't even on the same team."
However, Moreno has a much different outlook on what happened after the fight.
"Everything just got crazy in there," he said. "I was just trying to break things up and I got punched in the back of the head. I turned around and (Miller) was coming at me again, so I just started swinging at him."
Since then, the trash-talking Miller has been taking shots on the Internet and through the media at Moreno, who hasn't responded, and instead plans to do his talking with his fists.
"I've just been eating his words and haven't said nothing back," Moreno said. "I'm going to go to war, that's all I can say. Hopefully he's ready."
Although he is from the mainland, many local fans have taken a liking to "Mayhem" Miller, especially after his impressive wins over Jhun and Egan Inoue. Miller expects a mixed crowd tomorrow night, but has nothing but admiration and respect for those who come to see him fight.
"The fans here are so hyped up, there could be two 7-year-olds fighting and they ... would be jumping, screaming, and cheering," Miller said. "A lot of people don't like (Moreno) because of his attitude and some people might side with me. Some people might also hate me, but cool, I'll beat up your boy and then we'll have a beer afterward."
Miller has been spending more and more time in the islands recently and considers Hawaii his second home. While most fighters from out of state arrive just a few days before the event, Miller has been soaking up the sun here with his new local girlfriend.
"Even a blind, dumb, deaf mute would love Hawaii because of the air quality," Miller said. "It's just a different culture that I really enjoy and it's just perfect, man. How could you not love it?"
This is the first fight for "Mayhem" since a loss by unanimous decision to one of the top welterweights in the world, Georges St. Pierre, in April at UFC 52. It was Miller's first opportunity to fight in the UFC and it was an experience he would like to have again.
"I was so hyped up being in front of so many fans that I just got too excited and started fighting that fight like a street fight," Miller said. "Losing just gives me another excuse to whup (Moreno)."
In the main event, Vitale puts his newly won title on the line against the 23-year-old Lawler.
Lawler exploded onto the national scene when he was 19, winning matches in the UFC with impressive knockouts, earning respect as one of the hardest punchers in the sport. But after losing three of his past four fights, Lawler comes to SuperBrawl with a lot to lose, which is exactly what Vitale expects.
"I've been hit by bigger people and by stronger people," Vitale said. "I feel real good going toe to toe with him. I don't think he can hurt me."
Vitale has become the face of SuperBrawl after his stunning knockout of Suda in April, but even with the popularity and fame he has received and the pressure to keep his belt, his outlook on his career hasn't changed.
"I'm the same old me," Vitale said. "I was all stressed out last fight trying to bring the title home and it was the only fight I was nervous for. I feel better, I'm ready, I'm going to stand and fight with (Lawler), and I'm confident I'll come out on top."
Among other fights tomorrow night, Ed Kelii Newalu takes on Mark Oshiro in a state flyweight title fight and Kolo Koka fights Tyrone Jackson.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the opening bell at 7:30.
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