Hose Swamps Baroni to Capture Icon Belt


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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. Blaisdell Arena.

"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 it."

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 face.

"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 breathing heavily.

"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."

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