Pro Elite 3: Da Spyder vs. Minowaman (Recap & Rant)

Pro Elite held their third event on Saturday in Hawaii, airing on HD-Net. It looked like a beautiful day in paradise, but then, it always seems to look like that in Hawaii.

Main Event: Kendall Grove vs. Ikuhisa Minowa, Middleweights
The event was headlined by the return of ex-UFC fighter Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove in a much publicized match against Japanese superstar wrestler/fighter Minowaman. As expected, Minowa entered the cage with typical Japanese-event fanfare and in his striking red short shorts, looked to take the lincoln-bearded Grove down during the lackluster main event. Grove used his long limbs to give Minowa a hard time and defended takedowns but failed to stop the mulleted fighter. Grove took the decision and takes his 2-0 win streak to Superior Cage Combat 4 in Las Vegas in February, where he’s likely to face a stronger challenge.
Winner: Kendall Grove (unanimous decision)

Co-Main Event: Sara McMann vs. Hitomi Akano, 135 lbs.
The co-main event, Sara McMann vs.  Hitomi Akano provided enough action to overshadow Grove’s outing, with McMann slamming Akano to the ground and controlling her several times during the fight. It was quickly clear that McMann was the more powerful fighter and most of the fight was her controlling Akano on the ground. Not action-packed by any measure, McMann got the decision easily. Japan’s “Girl Fight Monster” Akano just wasn’t strong enough to get McMann off of her.
Winner: Sara McMann (unanimous decision)

If it sounds like I’m describing a laconic event so far, you’re right. But this card also featured the semi-finals of Pro Elite’s heavyweight tournament. Surely, the big guys would bring the thunder and we’d see some exciting action and at least a knock-out, right? Well…

Heavyweight Tournament Semi Finals
Ryan Martinez vs. Cody Griffin
The first semi-final pitted heavily-tattood Ryan Martinez against the taunting Cody Griffin in a slow paced, risk-averse bout. It is understandable that heavyweights with heavy hands respect one another and a “feeling out” period is expected, but the lack of engagement throughout the fight made it seem that neither man wanted to be there. Sparsely thrown quick punches and withdrawing seemed to be the order of the day. It was the kind of fight where you hear about later that one or both of the fighters was injured either before the fight or in the beginning of the fight. Roy Nelson with walking pneumonia would’ve easily handed either of these guys on this day. Martinez got the decision and will have to be more active against his opponent in the finals.
Winner: Ryan Martinez (unanimous decision)

Richard Odoms vs. Jake Heun
The second semi-final delivered more action as Richard Odoms faced Jake Heun in a relatively sloppy first round, with the two spending a lot of time on the ground, attempting submissions and escaping them. Heun got a slam takedown and mount, transitioning to an armbar that Odoms escaped, followed by Odoms attempting a rear-naked choke on Heun, but it was negated and the fight went back to standing. For a moment it looked like they would have a leg-lock battle, but that didn’t last and the round ended after a quick exchange where Heun had the advantage.

In the second round, Heun got a takedown and mount but Odoms got out again and got the back, tried to sink in the choke, failed, and just cranked Heun’s neck until he tapped. It was officially termed a choke.
Winner: Richard Odom (rear-naked crank choke)

Patrick Cummins vs. Tasi Edwards, Catchweight (215)
With a total of five pro fights’ experience between them, Hawaiian Tasi Edwards and Patrick Cummins entered the cage ready for action. Cummins was quick to take Edwards down with a single-let and attempted a guillotine which failed then transitioned to mount and got an arm-triangle choke with a minute left in the round.
Winner: Patrick Cummins (arm-triangle choke)

Brent Schermerhorn vs. Kaleo Gambill, Middleweight
The night began with the promise of a memorable card, as Brent Schermerhorn took it to Kaleo Gambill, first scoring a knockdown and as Gambill was just to his feet landed a left hook, and putting Gambill out in a very satisfying KO. If only the rest of the card featured action like this…
Winner: Brent Schermerhorn (knockout: punch)

So that’s Pro Elite 3 in the books. It held a lot of promise which made it a little disappointing as the fights played out. The good news is there’s lots of room for improvement with further Pro Elite events. And they’re still in beautiful Hawaii, so how bad could things ever be?