MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
K.J. Noons celebrated his victory over Harris Sarmiento by TKO during last night's Icon Sports mixed martial arts competition at the Blaisdell Center.
Mayhem chokes out Niko
Jason "Mayhem" Miller beat Falaniko Vitale by rear naked choke at 2:19 of the second round to earn the right to face "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler for the Icon Sport middleweight belt.
Lawler won the crown when he knocked out Vitale in the first round in Vitale's first title defense in July. Vitale won the title from Masanori Suda in the spring. But it was the fight on the co-main event that may have stole the show.
In an earlier fight that had a crowd of 7,000 on its feet from start to finish, the knees and legs of K.J. Noons proved to be too much for the Hitman.
Noons defeated Harris "The Hitman" Sarmiento (26-11) by technical knockout at 4:37 of the third round in the co-main event of last night's Icon Sport: Opposites Attract event at Blaisdell Center.
As was the case in every round, Sarmiento came out the aggressor and dominated the early minutes. But each time, Noons would answer with one kick or knee that would swing the fight.
A left kick to the head followed by a late barrage gave Noons round one after Sarmiento dominated the opening 4 minutes. Round two once again saw Sarmiento dominate early before a jumping knee by Noons had Sarmiento on the ground. Noons then took over in round three, blasting him with a huge knee before mounting Sarmiento and finishing him off with lefts and rights before the referee stopped the fight.
"Harris is a great fighter, don't take anything away from him," Noons said. "He tested me and I'm glad it was a great fight for everyone."
Noons improved to 4-1 with the victory while Sarmiento fell to 26-11.
Noons, a PRIDE Fighting Championship competitor, predicted he would knock out Sarmiento in the first round, but the local fighter, arguably the best lightweight from Hawaii, took clean shot after clean shot but refused to go down.
"Everyone's a winner that fights in this ring," Noons said. "He has a lot of heart, much respect to him."
In an undercard bout, an up-and-coming fighter at 185 pounds, Nick Ring, made quick work of Mike Malone, improving his record to 5-0 with a TKO victory. The Canada native needed just 3:08 to defeat Malone after mounting him from the back and raining down lefts and rights before forcing the referee to stop the fight. With the win, Ring now figures to join Vitale, Miller and Lawler at the top of the Icon Sport middleweight class.
Notable fighters on hand for the event included former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion and current PRIDE fighter Jens Pulver as well as former UFC heavyweight and lightheavyweight champion Randy Couture. Couture announced that he will be facing Chuck Liddell in February for the UFC lightheavyweight title. It will be the third meeting between the two with each having won once.