Vitale gets win, injures knee

March 21st, 2010

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Photos by Jamm Aquino, Star-Bulletin

Hawaii’s Niko Vitale ran his professional record to 27-9 with a submission victory over Kalib Starnes (10-5-1) in the main event of X-1: Champions II on Saturday night at the Blaisdell Arena.

However, the news wasn’t all good for Vitale, who moments after the fight ended, fell to the canvas clutching at his right knee. He was unable to put any weight on it about an hour after the conclusion of the fight. Vitale announced his next fight is scheduled to be against Murilo “Ninja” Rua in Shine Fights II on May 15, but his status for the bout is clearly up in the air.

Vitale used what judge Mike Onzuka described to me as an Ezekiel choke to tap out Starnes, who had never been submitted in his career, in the first round.

Other winners include Harris Sarmiento, who won a split decision over Richie Whitson for the vacant 155-pound world title. Sarmiento was showered with boo’s from the crowd after the fight because it seemed Whitson had done enough to reclaim the belt he vacated. Onzuka judged the fight and gave rounds 1,2 and 5 to Sarmiento. I personally had Whitson winning as the busier fighter with better takedowns, but Onzuka pointed out Sarmiento landed the cleaner power shots.

Dave Moreno finished Kurrent Cockett by rear-naked choke in the second round to win the 145-pound title and Bryson Hansen beat Riley Dutro by split decision to win the 135-pound world title.

X-1 announced it will return to the Blaisdell Arena on June 4. A 170-pound world title fight between champion Brandon Wolf and Dylan Clay and an eight-man light heavyweight tournament is scheduled for the show.

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