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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 19, 2007

Vitale victorious by TKO

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Falaniko Vitale

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After surviving 2 minutes and 41 seconds with mixed-martial arts fighter Falaniko Vitale Saturday night, Mavrick "Soul Collector" Harvey had to be happy to have his head more or less intact.

The bout was one of two main events at the X-1 World Events Xtreme Fighter 2 at Blaisdell Arena. Wesley "Cabbage" Correira lost a grinding match to Texas fighter Chris "Monster" Marez in the other headline match.

A crowd of more than 3,000 watched as Vitale deflected a vicious kick to the head and wrestled Harvey to the canvas. Vitale then maneuvered onto Harvey's back, where he delivered nearly a dozen blows before the match was called.

Harvey remained on the canvas for several minutes before staggering to the locker room with the help of two others.

"I have six lumps on the back of my head but not a scratch on my face," Harvey said, still holding an ice pack to his bruised-n-tattooed noggin a half-hour after his first-round TKO defeat.

Harvey was miffed that the referee didn't intervene when, Harvey said, Vitale struck him repeatedly on the back on the head, which is illegal in the sport.

"They should have (separated) us after the first one or two, but he got seven shots in," Harvey said.

Vitale said that if he inadvertently struck the back of Harvey's head, it was because Harvey was turning away from his punches.

"I let the ref judge that," Vitale said. "You can't control it if you're hitting the guy on the side of the face and he turns his head. What really hurt him was when I went around his arms and hit him on the side of the head."

In the other main event, Marez, a corrections officer, gained the decision despite fighting with a badly bruised right thigh, which he suffered during a sparring accident two weeks ago.

Marez said the injury affected his conditioning because it kept him from running. He said it also made it difficult to pivot on his punches.

"I didn't want to tell anybody before the match," he said, lifting his boxing trunks to reveal a badly discolored, cantaloupe-sized bruise on his inner thigh. "When I came here, I had to take medication just to bend my leg. I iced it for 18 hours the last three days."

Marez and Correira stood and punched for all but a few seconds of the bout.

The first round was interrupted twice, first when Correira accidentally poked Marez in the eye, and again when Marez did the same accidentally to Correira.

The eye-for-an-eye routine continued as the fighters alternately leaned, clutched and punched each other with little impact other than mutual exhaustion.

In the third round, Correira tried to slam Marez to the mat, but Marez twice grabbed the rope to stop himself, an illegal move that drew a chorus of boos from the crowd.

"I felt so bad," Marez said. "I didn't want to do that, but I did."

Marez said Correira got even a minute later by worming his fingers inside Marez's glove, immobilizing Morez's hand while he punched him in the head.

"He's a good guy," Marez said. "I told him to let go and he did. He's a clean, class act."

The fighters exchanged a few flurries in the opening round, but much of the match was spent with Correira leaning Marez against the ropes and working his body.

"There was not much difference between us," Correira said. "I thought I could put him down, but he was just too big."

The undercard featured several highlight-worthy matches, including "Sugar" Shane Nelson's three-round decision over Kolo Koka, a match that featured textbook ground-and-pound technique, and Tonya Evinger's second-round knockout of Shoni Plagmann.

Evinger said she had been forcing herself to gain weight in preparation for what was supposed to have been a match against Kelly Cobalt. When Cobalt pulled out and was replaced by Plagmann, Evinger tried to drop the weight. The see-sawing didn't put her in a good mood going into the bout.

"I wanted to knock her the (expletive) out," Evinger said.

Ten seconds into the second round, Evinger did just that, landing a haymaker right hook flush on Plagmann's chin. Plagmann fell straight backward and lay unconscious for several seconds while Evinger flexed for the cameras.

Also on the undercard, "Dirty" Dave Moreno, the self-proclaimed "sexiest man in 145" (weight class) earned a second-round victory over David "the Tan Superman" Padilla, bloodying Padilla in the first round then choking him to submission in the next.

RESULTS

Chris "Monster" Marez def. Wesley Correira (3rd rd. dec). Falaniko Vitale def. Mavrick Harvey (1st rd. TKO). Kaleo Kwan def. Danny Steele (3rd rd. dec). Mark Moreno def. Nik Lentz (1st rd. TKO). Shane Nelson def. Kolo Koka (3rd rd. dec). Brett Rogers def. Deutsch Puu (2nd rd. KO). Paco Woods def. Kaipo Gonzales (3rd rd. dec). Dave Moreno def. David Padilla (2nd rd. submission-choke). Harris Sarimento def. Henry Martinez (3rd rd. dec). Fernando Gonzalez def. Jay Carter (3rd rd. dec). Tonya Evinger def. Shoni Plagmann (2nd rd. KO).

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.