LAHAINA - There will be some familiar faces in unusual places next week, as mixed martial arts promoters Maui Fighting Championships and Hustle 'n Throw present the "Stars and Stripes" cage fighting event at Lahaina Civic Center on Aug. 17.
Dedicated to fallen military personnel and to the memories of Lahaina boys Blaze Kalilikane and Chanse Uyeda, the MMA event was first scheduled for Sept. 11, but it has been moved up to mid-August.
The fight card will feature 15 bouts and include West Siders Kaniela Tuipulotu, Ivan Ayudan, David Arcangel, Kapono "Bone" Pali, Andrew England and Bobby King.
From left, Kaniela Tuipulotu, Kapono “Bone” Pali, Ivan Ayudan and Andrew England are ready to fight at “Stars and Stripes.”
Tuipulotu and Ayudan will be making their MMA debuts fighting in the heavyweight and 125-pound divisions, respectively.
Training at Hustle 'n Throw in Lahaina, Tuipulotu is well-known as one of the community's most highly regarded football standouts in his gridiron career at Lahainaluna and Kahuku High Schools and at Division I Arizona and the University of Hawaii.
His professional football aspirations were curtailed by three shoulder injuries that ended that career. Now he looks forward to his fighting debut at a trimmed down - by 45 pounds - 250.
Meanwhile, Ayudan, one of Maui's foremost free divers, has left the ocean to enter the octagon to compete in his first MMA event at 125 pounds.
Arcangel is another Lahaina product out of the Hustle 'n Throw stable but now resides in Las Vegas, where he is working and training to advance a promising fight future.
He has stated that he is returning to his hometown to compete in honor of his friend and teammate on the Lahainaluna wrestling team, Uyeda, who passed away in a traffic accident last month. Arcangel will fight in the 145-pound division.
Pali, at 145, and England, at 160, are experienced MMA fighters who also train at Hustle 'n Throw, while King (155) also has had numerous bouts and trains here on the West Side.
The main event will feature a 185-pound bout with Central Maui's Ilima Maiava facing Washington State's CJ Marsh.
Hustle 'n Throw owner and operator Shaun "Buge" Saribay added that the event is dedicated to the Lahaina community and to the memories of Uyeda and Kalilikane.
"We say thank you to all of our family and friends that have supported us throughout the years, and especially to my work - Mid Pacific Tattoo - for giving the time off to help put on the event. Thanks also to the support from Puu and his ohana, and to Pocko and his ohana. And most of all, we put this on in memory of Chanse and Blaze."
For ticket information, call Mid Pacific Tattoo at 661-1100 or visit any Chevron or Shell station on Maui.