HONOLULU, March 15 -- Waianae brawler Kala Kolohe Hose (Pictures) captured the Icon Sport
middleweight title Saturday night, stopping Phil Baroni (Pictures) in the fifth round of a grueling
fight in front of a boisterous hometown crowd inside the Neal S.
"That was the best fight of my life," Hose said after the bout,
which was made a title affair after Icon stripped Robbie Lawler (Pictures) for failing to defend the title
due to various injuries. "To me it was a good fight. I loved
Baroni started strong, scoring an easy double-leg takedown and
controlling the Hawaiian from the top position. From the bottom,
Hose bucked and squirmed in an attempt to get out from underneath
Baroni, but the New Yorker stayed in control and used any scramble
to his advantage by punishing Hose with punches and stomps to the
"I just recall one [stomp] landing square on my face, that one
really rocked me," Hose said. "Then he started going off on me. I
just tried to hurry up, get up, to avoid those kicks. I honestly
thought I was in trouble at that point," Hose said.
But as the first round progressed Hose began to take over, doing
damage from the bottom as a fatiguing Baroni laid on top of him
"I saw him getting gassed but I didn't want to rush into things,"
Hose said. "I didn't want to rush in and get caught with something
that I shouldn't get caught with. So I just tried to stay back,
still stay calm, pick my shots."
Baroni again got the fight to the mat in the second, but this time
Hose threatened with a kimura from the bottom. Back on their feet,
Baroni tried for another takedown but Hose sprawled to stay on top.
From there, Hawaiian began to land strikes, but the bout was
momentarily halted when Hose was warned for an illegal strike to
the back of the head.
As the third frame started, Baroni looked to be completely fatigued
as he walked to the center of the ring with his hands down. "The
New York Bad Ass" attempted another takedown, but Kala Kolohe
stuffed it and began landing punches and a knee to Baroni's head,
sending him to his back. It was here that Hose found his greatest
success, alternating between punching to the body and head from
guard, and standing up to deliver kicks and punches.
The fourth round was more of the same, as Hose sprawled out of a
single-leg takedown and delivered hard shots to Baroni's head and
body. At one point, Baroni had a point deducted after his second
attempt to escape punishment by ducking under the ropes. Later in
the round Baroni finally finished another takedown and put Hose on
his back, but Baroni didn't have enough energy to keep him there as
the Hawaiian easily stood up.
"I was expecting a lot of wrestling cause I knew how he was
training; he was doing a lot of wrestling," Hose said
As the fifth and final round started, the two sluggers began
exchanging punches on the feet. Less than 30 seconds in, Hose
staggered Baroni with a right-left combo then followed up with a
right hand that dropped "The New York Bad Ass" to the mat.
Smelling blood in the water as the crowd of roughly 3,400 cheered
wildly, the soon-to-be champion landed a stomp and finished up with
punches until referee Chris West stopped the bout just 26-seconds
into the final round.
After the fight, Baroni was attended to by paramedics before being
taken to a local hospital.
"Phil's alert, he's responsive," Baroni's manager Ken Pavia told
Sherdog after the bout. "It was a tough fight, but he'll physically
be OK. I think the biggest thing is he's very disappointed. I guess
perhaps we underestimated his ability to get in shape in a short
period of time, [Baroni] didn't have it in the gas tank for five
and Kala came up and fought a great fight."