MMA cage fight event a first for the territory
The Return of the Toa Cage Fights is now officially on the record books after its successful Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event held last Friday night at the Tafuna High School gymnasium that saw a crowd of young and old alike witness Samoa's MMA fighters, Judo practitioners, boxers and Karate competitors make history by fighting inside of a steel cage.
The first MMA event which was called Combat Sports Challenge (CSC 4:11) made history as the first MMA event held here in the territory, and took place this past April, where the combatants competed in a boxing type ring.
Last Friday's MMA event made even bigger history by using a steel cage (approximately 20 x 20 feet and surrounded by steel poles with a chain link fence) and had better and more disciplined fighters. Each fight consisted of three two minute rounds.
With the steel cage set and the fighters ready to battle, the night started off with Judo exhibition matches which were refereed by David Vargas who is the coach for the American Samoa National Judo team and Vice President of the Oceanic Judo Union.
The Judo matches featured Sebastian Scanlan and Anthony Liu; and, Dorian and Derek Henderson - with the crowd witnessing excellent throws and takedowns in both exhibition matches.
In the first MMA match of the night, it was Vice Tuitama going against Junior Auomanu. After two standing eight counts against Tuitama, Auomanu was able to take the match with a unanimous decision.
Next up was Tasele Scanlan (Judo/Middleweight) battling it out Eddie Boy Krause (Freestyle/Middleweight). Krause came out strong and aggressive in the 1st. round and caught Scanlan. Early in the 2nd. Scanlan caught Krause in a throw and was able to put him (Krause) in a submission hold, from which Krause had no way out, forcing the referee (Deutsch Pu'u), to stop the match, awarding it to Scanlan.
Brandon Muese (Freestyle/Middleweight) captured a three round unanimous decision over Jay Jay Borja (Kickboxer/Middleweight).
The next fight saw the always entertaining Jerry Tuitaumasaniai (Wrestling/Middleweight) who overwhelmed his opponent, Kevin Kornagay (Jiu-Jitsu/Middleweight) forcing stoppage of the fight early in the 1st round. Despite Tuitaumasaniai being a wrestler, he came out with lightning punches choosing to keep this fight standing up.
The next two fighters, Joe Tuitama (Boxing/Welterweight) versus Tavake Fomai'i (Boxing/Welterweight) had the crowd watching them in a fierce one-round fight, with Tuitama taking the win with a TKO - with less than 10 seconds left in the opening round.
In the last Middleweight fight of the night, Ken Sionesini (Boxing/Middleweight) took out Anthony Pu'u (Boxing/Lightheavyweight) with a TKO in the 2nd round.
The battle between Washington Nair (Freestyle/Lightheavyweight) and Peno Oa (Freestyle/Lightheavyweight) had these two heavy hitters going at it until the middle of round 2, when after Oa caught Nair with hard hits to the head, which left Nair unresponsive to the referee just long enough to force the stoppage.
The last fight of the night pitted two of the big boys, Zena Iese (Freestyle/Heavyweight) versus Josh Ane (Wrestling/Heavyweight) facing off. At the start of this battle between the big men, Iese came out strong and was the aggressor, attacking the taller Ane, trying to get his ground game going by taking Ane to the mat. But Iese's game was not to be on this night, as Ane was able to fight off Iese's attack. Ane was then able to overwhelm Iese with heavy lefts and rights, connecting with at least 80% of his punches, and once again, the referee stopped the action just over one minute into the fight.
There was one match that pitted two Welterweight combatants, Caleb Scanlan (Wrestling, Judo/Welterweight) versus Emanuel Milovale (Karate/Welterweight), with both of these combatants showcasing great skills with takedowns, throws, holds and punches that were technically sound and precise. Even though Scanlan took the match in the 2nd round thanks to an excellent ground attack, Milovale was still able to land kicks with pinpoint accuracy and had somewhat of a ground attack as well, but was not able to outdo Scanlan due to Scanlan's ground game.