Kendall Grove bested Ikuhisa Minowa at ProElite 3. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Playing off his nine-inch height and 7.5-inch reach advantage, Kendall Grove had no problems with Ikuhisa Minowa.
Grove (14-9) dictated the standup and dominated Minowa on the mat, as he claimed a lopsided unanimous decision against the 2009 Dream Super Hulk grand prix winner in the ProElite 3 headliner on Saturday at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for the 29-year-old Hawaiian. The defeat snapped Minowa’s five-fight winning streak and spoiled the Pride Fighting Championships veteran’s debut on American soil.
Grove stuck Minowa (52-33-8) with straight rights, jabs and intermittent front kicks to the body. Outside of a first-round takedown, he stayed off his back and out of the Japanese professional wrestler’s wheelhouse, steering clear of the vaunted leg locks for which “Minowaman” has become known.
Rounds two and three were decidedly one-sided, as Grove thwarted takedowns, assumed top position, threatened with chokes and attacked with elbows to the body and punches to the head. His body triangle was particularly effective, as his long legs allowed him to remain attached to Minowa’s back for vast stretches of the fight. Still, Grove’s inability to end it proved frustrating.
“I was trying to finish him, but from the back, he’s tough; he defends well,” he said. “I should have finished him.”
Grove, who won Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, has rattled off back-to-back wins since being released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“I’m a fighter. I’ll fight whoever you want me to fight,” he said. “That’s my job. I don’t duck guys.”
Silver Medalist McMann Moves to 5-0
Repeated takedowns, strategic ground-and-pound and impeccable submission defense carried 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann to a unanimous decision over Japanese judoka Hitomi Akano in the co-main event. McMann (5-0) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 counts.
Akano (18-9), who entered the cage on a two-fight winning streak, had no answer for the South Carolinian’s world-class wrestling skills. McMann struck for multiple takedowns in all three rounds, mounted Akano in the second round and kept the Abe Ani Combat Club representative pinned to the mat for much of the 15-minute encounter. She also picked her sports with some thudding punches from top position.
To her credit, Akano fished relentlessly for submissions, primarily triangle chokes and armbars, but failed to crack the decorated American wrestler’s defensive code.
Martinez, Odoms Advance to Grand Prix Final
Infinite MMA representative Ryan Martinez advanced to the final of the ongoing ProElite heavyweight grand prix with, capturing a unanimous verdict from Cody Griffin. All three cageside judges scored it for Martinez (7-1): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27).
On a five-fight winning streak, Martinez fed Griffin a steady diet of powerful leg kicks, damaging the inside and outside of Griffin’s lead thigh. Bruising was visible. The 29-year-old worked in occasional jabs and body kicks, as he opened a small cut near Griffin’s right eye in the first round and wobbled him with a counter right hook in the third.
Griffin tried but failed to bait his opponent into a firefight, as Martinez let his hands and feet work, stayed true to his game plan and cruised to a one-sided decision.
Martinez will face undefeated San Antonio police officer Richard Odoms in the grand prix final. The 36-year-old Odoms (7-0) submitted Jake Heun with a neck crank 1:56 into the second round of their back-and-forth encounter.
Odoms fought through a pair of takedowns, three mounts, multiple submission attempts and some heavy ground-and-pound against Heun (2-2), a Jeremy Horn protégé who failed to maintain a sustainable pace. With fatigue overtaking him, Heun slipped off his opponent’s back in the second round, and Odoms capitalized. He moved to a dominant position, secured the neck and, with it, his first submission as a professional.
Cummins Choke Submits Edwards
Heavyweight prospect Patrick Cummins kept his unbeaten professional record intact, as he submitted Tasi Edwards with a first-round arm-triangle choke. Edwards (2-1) asked out of the fight 4:01 into round one.
Cummins (2-0), a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Penn State University, dominated from the start. The Reign MMA representative scored with a takedown inside the first 30 seconds, unleashed his ground-and-pound, passed guard without much resistance and eventually mounted the Hawaiian. From there, Cummins locked in the arm-triangle choke, cleared Edwards’ legs and awaited the tapout.
In other action, Chris Leben understudy Brent Schermerhorn knocked out Kaleo Gambill with a wicked left hook 45 seconds into the first round; Dream veteran Tatsuya Mizuno submitted Ilima Maiava with an arm-triangle choke 1:47 into round two of their light heavyweight duel; Toby Misech stopped Steven Saito on knees 1:53 into the first round; Collin Mansansas needed a little more than two minutes to submit Bryson Kamaka, closing out the Strikeforce veteran 2:27 into round one; and Sean Rush coaxed a tapout from Jaymes Schulte 2:37 into the first round, nailing down the submission with a rear-naked choke.