by Nicole Kato – special to MMAWeekly.com
Honolulu was ready for ProElite’s Arlovski vs. Lopez matches at the Neil Blaisdell Arena on August 27.
The fight card, including the return of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlvoski to the ring, the debut of Reagan Penn, and the rematch between Kendall Grove and Joe Riggs attracted a crowd that filled the stands of the arena.
Kendall Grove vs. Joe Riggs
Kendall Grove had his mind set on one thing tonight, a rematch seven years in the making.
In 2004, Grove and Joe Riggs faced off at Rumble on the Rocks, and Riggs walked away with the victory.
The first time that Grove met Riggs in the ring, he stated that he was just a boy. But once the gate closed in the ring at the ProElite event, Grove proved he was no longer a boy but a man.
In the beginning of round one, Riggs attempted to take Grove to the mat, but Grove turned the tables when he flipped Riggs and forced him into submission by guillotine choke all in the first 59 seconds of round one.
The audience was on its feet within seconds as Grove leapt to the top of the cage and threw up his arms in victory.
After the match, Grove stated that he set out to defend Hawaii, and he did just that.
Andrei Arlvoski vs. Ray Lopez
Although not exciting for the audience, Andrei Arlvoski the former UFC heavyweight champion, dominated Ray Lopez in the third round and showed everyone how his determination and strength earned him that title.
Arlvoski was able to use his power to take Lopez to the mat numerous times throughout the match while letting his arms go on Lopez’s often unprotected face.
Lopez ended up on his back on almost every occasion, and the audience kept yelling, “My dog does that at home.” However, Arlvoski wasn’t swayed by Lopez’s attempts to rest or re-strategize.
At the end of round one Lopez managed to get Arlvoski in to an almost rear-naked choke, but the bell sounded.
The second round had the audience on its feet once again, but the members weren’t cheering. “Boos” filled the arena as Lopez ended up on his back once again causing the ref to have the fighters restart.
Arlvoski isn’t known for having fast hands, but his hands were flying in the third round when he had Lopez pinned on the mat.
Despite his win, there were more boos from the audience due to the lack of action during the fight.
Reagan Penn vs. Paul Gardiner
Reagan Penn, brother of MMA notable BJ Penn, made his debut appearance facing off with Paul Gardiner of Nashville MMA, and cut Gardiner’s perfect 3-0 win streak short.
With his quick movements, Gardiner immediately took Penn down, but within the first 30 seconds of the round one Penn had Gardiner in a headlock and delivered numerous punches.
A minute in the ring with Penn was more than Gardiner could handle, and he tapped out soon after Penn got him in a rear-naked choke.
Gardiner stated before the match that he wouldn’t be a pushover and that once he landed the first punch he would continue until it was over. But Gardiner wasn’t even able to touch Penn, and Penn showed everyone that he isn’t just “BJ’s little brother.”
Mark Ellis and Jake Heun gave a whole new meaning to grapple and pound.
In the first round both fighters seemingly took turns taking each other down, but Ellis proved that his ground game was stronger even though he’s known for kickboxing.
While Heun delivered some punches in round one, Ellis seemed to roll with them and deliver strong strikes of his own.
The second round could have gone both ways. Ellis managed to get Heun in a choke, but couldn’t seem to finish the job. Immediately after, Heun twisted Ellis’s elbow into an arm lock, but Ellis managed to slip out.
The constant change of power and control between fighters kept the match interesting and both fighters out of breath.
Ellis, who made his debut, had said he wanted to take Heun out, and in the second round Ellis flipped Heun into a rear-naked submission and received his first pro win.
Sarah McMann vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi
Wrestling silver medalist Sarah McMann said that ProElite always gives her strong opponents, but she had never met a stronger one than Raquel Pa’aluhi.
As soon as the first round began, both women sent their hands flying with quick strikes. But McMann wasn’t a wrestling silver medalist for nothing. Her talent on the mat shone through as she body slammed Pa’aluhi in round one.
Even though wrestling is McMann’s strong point, her hands were heavy as she delivered punch after punch. But Pa’aluhi was vigilant and was able to keep McMann in a triangle choke for the last minute of round two.
Both fighters gave their all in rounds one and two, and round three was no different. McMann received a well-executed knee to the face, and Pa’aluhi felt the power of McMann’s right kick.
Around the two-minute mark in round three, McMann put Pa’aluhi in an arm lock that Pa’aluhi couldn’t slip out of.
McMann, who increased her record to 4-0, praised Pa’aluhi’s strength and technique and said that she hopes ProElite sends her more talented fighters like Pa’aluhi.
Drew McFedries vs. Garrett Olson
The first couple minutes of the match between Drew McFedries of Iowa and Garrett Olson of Minnesota were mundane, but the end of round one was as action-packed as it could get.
Olson kept throwing upper cuts and right jabs, but none landed. McFedries got tired of the no-contact stand up and dominated with his ground game.
But, you can’t have a fight if your opponent doesn’t fight back. Olson remained on his back for much of the fight, and McFedries charged at him every time. In his defense, Olson kicked his legs wildly, which caused the audience to erupt with laughter.
McFedries seemed to have had enough of Olson’s refusal to take offense and delivered countless punches until the ref called a stop to the match at the four-minute mark in round one.
“I hoped he would take offense and engage, but he didn’t,” McFedries said.
Kendall Grove def. Joe Riggs by submisssion (guillotine choke) at 59 sec., R1
Andrei Arlovski def. Ray Lopez by TKO (punches) at 2:43, R3
Reagan Penn def. Paul Gardiner by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:10, R1
Mark Ellis def. Jake Heun by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:29, R2
Sarah McMann def. Raquel Pa’aluhi by submission (arm lock) at 2:53, R3
Drew McFedries def. Garrett Olson by TKO (punches) at 4:04, R2
Kaleo Gambill def. Sale Sproat by TKO (strikes) at 1:31, R1
Dustin Barca def. Reno Remigio by Instruction by Ringside Physician at 5:00, R2
Brent Schermerhorn def. Jesse Lundgren by TKO (punches) at 1:38, R1
Joey Palemia def. Chad Thomas by Unanimous Decision, R3