UFC vet Kendall Grove (14-9) is now 2-0 since his release from the world's biggest MMA promotion.
An intensely focused Grove overwhelmed Japanese superstar Ikuhisa Minowa (52-33-8) over the course of a 15-minute affair and cruised to a unanimous-decision win.
The bout served as the featured contest of Saturday's ProElite 3 event, which took place at Honolulu's Neil S. Blaisdell Arena and aired on HDNet.
Minowa opened with several slapping kicks to the thigh, but Grove remained patient in the center of the cage and forced the action to the fence. Minowa showed his desire for a takedown early, and Grove immediately began to look for knees to the head of his ducking foe. Minowa did finally work inside in the final two minutes and earned a takedown with a trip. Grove tried to work back to his feet, but Minowa stayed on top until the bell – though he did little while in top position.
Grove picked up the pace on the feet as the second opened, and he defended a pair of takedowns with ease, settling into top position on the second attempt. Grove eventually worked to back control and went after a rear-naked choke that simply wouldn't come. Nevertheless, it was a solid frame for "Da Spyder."
Minowa again looked to bring the fight to the floor in the third, but the lanky Grove transitioned to the back less than two minutes into the round. Minowa showed ample defense as Grove swarmed with submission attempts, but he offered little in terms of counterattack and dropped a clearcut decision.
With the win, Grove now boasts a two-fight win streak and fights again at Superior Cage Combat 4 in Las Vegas on Feb. 16. Minowa sees a five-fight win streak snapped.
In the evening's co-feature undefeated female prospect Sara McMann (5-0) kept her perfect record intact with an impressive win over seven-plus year veteran Hitomi Akano (18-9).
McMann looked to box in the opening round, but she quickly returned to her wrestling base and took the fight to the floor with a bit of an awkward shot. She avoided a choke attempt and looked to control from top position but was eventually brought back to her feet on a restart. When Akano moved inside to the clinch on the feet, McMann delivered a powerful slam to the floor.
McMann repeated the task in the second, displaying a massive power advantage over her foe. Akano worked well from her back, keeping the legs high and looking for options to end the fight. Despite a decent work rate from both, referee Yuji Shimada again brought the pair to the feet. McMann delivered with a few impressive strikes before again taking the fight to the floor. Akano looked for a kimura, but McMann pulled free from the hold. An accidental thumb in McMann's eye forced another restart, but McMann quickly put the action on the ground yet again.
The third round saw more of the same, and while Akano was game until the final bell, McMann again slammed her to the floor on a few different occasions. In the end, McMann was unable to get the finish, but the impressive prospect left little doubt as to the victor of the contest, and she walked away with a unanimous decision win.
In the evening's second heavyweight grand prix semifinal, undefeated Richard Odoms (7-0) scored a second-round submission win over Jake Heun (2-2) in a highly entertaining – if not exactly technically sound – back-and-forth affair. The action started immediately, with Heun scoring an early slam takedown and then moving quickly to mount and an armbar attempt that looked close to ending the fight. Odoms then wiggled free and nearly had a rear-naked choke, but Heun escaped to the feet and reset. The pair fell into a dueling leglock battle for much of the later moments, and while neither was able to hit the finish, Heun did pull free and land a few heavy punches before the bell.
In the second, a tiring Heun scored a lateral drop and transitioned to mount. But Odoms fought off the charge once again and slipped to his opponent's back and instantly locking his arms around the neck. With the look of a deranged lunatic on his face, Odoms cranked the neck and earned a tapout finish that was deemed a rear-naked choke but looked to be more neck crank than anything. The finish came at the 1:56 mark and put Odoms in the tournament final.
Meanwhile, the evening's first heavyweight grand prix semifinal bout played out as a slow-paced kickboxing match between Ryan Martinez (7-1) and Cody Griffin (5-3). The heavily favored Martinez ultimately earned a unanimous-decision win, but he did little to truly impress the crowd. Fighting conservatively, save for a handful of quick charges of punching flurries, Martinez did bloody his foe's eye in the opening round. But in the end, Griffin was reduced to taunting antics to try and draw Martinez out of his shell for countering opportunities. Instead, Martinez stayed with his gameplan and cruised to the 15-minute win, booking his spot in the finals.
In a 215-pound catchweight contest, undefeated prospect Patrick Cummins (2-0) earned his second career victory after tapping out Hawaiian Tasi Edwards (2-1). Cummins didn't waste much time on the feet, earning a quick single-leg takedown and setting up on top. Cumming swarmed from there with a guillotine choke attempt, a transition into mount and punches whenever possible. Edwards proved gritty underneath, scrambling and trying to survive on bottom, but he eventually fell into an arm-triangle choke and tapped with 59 seconds left in the first round.
The evening's first main-card contest saw middleweight Brent Schermerhorn (5-1) score a brutal knockout over Kaleo Gambill (2-1). The two engaged from the bell, and Schermerhorn scored a flash knockout in the opening seconds. Gambill climbed back to his feet but took a stiff left hook to the button shortly after and was out before he hit the canvas. The highlight-reel finish took just 45 seconds.
MAIN CARD (HDNet)
Kendall Grove def. Ikuhisa Minowa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sara McMann def. Hitomi Akano via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Richard Odoms def. Jake Heun via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 1:56 - to advance to heavyweight grand prix final
Ryan Martinez def. Cody Griffin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) - to advance to heavyweight grand prix final
Patrick Cummins def. Tasi Edwards via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 1, 4:01
Brant Schermerhorn def. Kaleo Gambill via knockout (punch) - Round 1, 0:45
PRELIMINARY CARD (un-aired)
Tatsuya Mizuno def. Ilima Maiava via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 2, 1:47
Toby Misech sef. Steven Saito via TKO (knees) - Round 1, 1:53
Collin Mansanas def. Bryson Kamaka via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 2:27
Sean Rush def. Jaymes Schulte via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 2:37