MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Former local champion Falaniko Vitale ran into "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler's potent right hand last night for the second time in the past year, taking a shot on the chin.
Lawler puts Niko to sleep again
The only difference between the first Robbie Lawler/Niko Vitale fight and last night's rematch was that the sequel didn't take quite as long.
The current Icon Sport middleweight champion knocked out Vitale for the second time in less than a year with a brutal right hand at 3:38 of the first round in the non-title main-event fight of last night's Icon Sport event at Blaisdell Arena.
An estimated crowd of 5,000 witnessed a slow start to the fight, as both fighters seemed to be much more cautious than in their previous meeting. Again it was Niko who pushed the action, but after he launched a right-left combination, Lawler caught Vitale with a counter right and then a monster right hook that knocked the former champion out.
"The thing is, he was hitting very hard," Lawler said. "I wanted him to wear himself out. I wanted to stay right with my punches and I did."
Lawler improved to 11-3 with the win, while Vitale lost his third straight and dropped to 20-6.
"He pressed in and I stayed tight just trying to keep my hands up," Lawler said. "I caught him with a right and that was it."
Vitale replaced Jason "Mayhem" Miller in the main event after Miller was suspended by Icon Sport a little more than a month ago. After the fight, Miller entered the ring and told Lawler he better not get too excited with the victory.
"Just know though, it's not going to be that easy when I'm standing in this ring," Miller said.
"I'm going to get stronger, get a little quicker, and I'll be ready," Lawler countered. "Bring it."
In the co-main event of the evening, David "Chinaman" Yeung continued his mastery over Jim Kikuchi, defeating him for the second time in three years by unanimous decision to become the new Icon Sport State Flyweight Champion. While their first fight didn't even last 30 seconds as Yeung (4-3-1) won by TKO, the rematch went the distance as neither fighter seemed to want to make a move. Both fighters were warned for inactivity at the end of round one and again in the middle of the third round. The only real offense in the fight came from Yeung's leg kicks, which were noticeably hurting Kikuchi (6-5) by the end of the fight.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
After Vitale took Lawler's punch, his legs turned to jelly. Lawler put Vitale away with another exchange seconds later.
The PRIDE Fighting Championship feature bout of the night pitted Jason "Hollywood" Chambers against Japan's Michihiro Omigawa. Chambers dominated the first round -- spending most of it on Omigawa's back, peppering him with punches -- but couldn't end the fight. Omigawa came back in the second round, mounted Chambers in the final 30 seconds and nearly got the victory before Chambers was saved by the bell. The final round was very slow, even drawing boos from the crowd, with neither fighter doing much. In the end, however, it was Omigawa earning a sloppy split-decision victory.
Mark Oshiro, who last was seen in an Icon Sport ring losing to current featherweight champion Ed Newalu by decision in one of the top fights of 2005, made a successful return by defeating Gene "Bino" Gregory by TKO at 2:20 of the first round. Oshiro, who was dominant in the victory, remains the No. 1 contender to Newalu's belt and will likely face the champion later this year.
In other matches from last night's event:
160 pounds: Marshall Harvest def. Bryce Martinez via tapout due to a rear naked choke at 2:12 of round 3.
155: Bronson Delima def. Tim "Magic" Moon by unanimous decision.
165: Mike Taniguchi def. Ikaika Choy-Fu at 2:10 of round 1 by tapout due to a guillotine choke.
170: Derek Stadler def. Wayne Perrin by tapout due to an armbar at 1:06 of round 1.
135: Tyson Nam def. Ryan Lee by TKO at 1:01 of round 3.
175: Kimo Woefel def. Chad Gusman by TKO with 9 seconds left in round 1.
155: Adam Bass def. David Padilla by TKO at 1:15 of round 3.