X-1 recap: Reiner/Wolff steals the show

May 18th, 2008

(Kudos to Richard Walker, host of the Photo Lounge, for all the photos.)

Chad Reiner vs. Brandon Wolff

X-1: Legends is in the book and after a very slow start, things picked up tremendously in the final three fights.

Most notable was the X-1 welterweight title fight that saw local boy Brandon Wolff earn a split decision victory over Chad Reiner of Omaha, Neb. The fight went the full 25 minutes as Wolff won by a razor-thin margin. I compared it to the Baroni/Hose fight in Icon in March, but what was different about this war was that you had no idea who was going to win. In the third round, it looked like Wolff was about to gas out and Reiner started going to work with vicious shots. Reiner even had a couple submission attempts that looked close to finishing the challenger, but Wolff found it in the fifth round and I thought clearly won the final five minutes and thus the fight. In a fight as close as that one, the guy who ends the strongest seems to (and should IMO) get the advantage on the score cards and thus Wolff is your new champion.

Like I mentioned, this fight was right up there with Baroni/Hose in excitement value, but unlike Baroni who clearly didn’t look like he had a chance to win the fight after round 1, you never knew who was going to win this fight. Huge props to both Reiner and Wolff, who earned themselves a ton of fans Friday night.

Chad Reiner

The only true knockout of the night came in the lightweight title fight that saw Alaska’s Richie Whitson drop Ray Cooper with a punch late in the first round to become the new champion.

X-1 lightweight champion Richie Whitson

Second win in 10 days for Whitson (4-0), who deserves a lot of credit for taking the fight on less than a week’s notice, flying all the way out to Hawaii, and bringing it against a guy many believed could make a serious comeback at 34-years-old. Cooper hit Whitson with a hard shot early, but seemed like he wanted to wrestle with Whitson and try to take him down. Whitson did a tremendous job avoiding the takedown and then caught Cooper during an exchange that put a quick and sudden end to the fight.

Egan Inoue vs. Hans Marrero

Of course, most of the estimated 2,500 in attendance Friday night came to see Egan Inoue, who didn’t take long to dispose of Hans Marrero. I was able to talk to Egan for a couple minutes after the fight, and surprisingly, he mentioned how he thought Marrero was disrespecting him prior to the fight, which is something he didn’t talk about going in. The two seemed to get along, but Egan felt Marrero was talking a little too much before the fight and made him eat his words with a 59-second TKO victory.

Because the fight didn’t last long, Egan wasn’t able to truly test himself and see if he’s ready to make a full-time comeback. He wouldn’t commit to anything, but I’d be shocked if we didn’t see him back in the ring later this year, and MAYBE as soon as X-1′s next card July 12.

The last three fights helped overcome what was a very tough start to the evening. Sean Sakata didn’t make it 10 seconds before suffering what looked like a horrible knee injury on a simple leg kick attempt. The second fight was stopped after one of the fighter’s complained of a rib injury in between the second and third rounds, and maybe the most surprising event of the night happened when Ron Jhun didn’t answer the bell for round 2 of his fight with Dylan Clay, instead stepping through the ropes and abruptly leaving. Jhun did get poked in the eye early in the fight and that may have had something to do with it, but Clay also seemed to be the better fighter. Don’t be surprised to hear more from him in the future.

Overall, a decent night of fights highlighted by a couple of upsets and complete dominance by Egan in the main event. I covered the very first X-1 fight a couple years back and they have done a tremendous job increasing both the entertainment value and quality of fights for their events.

Posted in Fights | 1 Comment »

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