Falaniko Vitale and Dylan Clay will mix it up tomorrow in the main event of X-1 World Events’ "Champions III" card.
X-1 WORLD EVENTS "CHAMPIONS III"
» When: Tomorrow; gates open at 6 p.m., 11-bout card starts at 7 p.m.
» Where: Blaisdell Arena
» Main event: Falaniko Vitale (Waipahu) vs. Dylan Clay (Durango, Colo.) for Vitale’s 185-pound middleweight title
» Tickets: $35, $50, $75 and $100 (ring-side seating); available at Blaisdell Box Office, Wal-Mart stores, on-line at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000
» TV/internet: $29.95 on Oceanic Cable pay-per-view Ch. 260/high definition 1260/$9.95 streaming live on-line broadcast through X1Events.com
Although it was difficult to tell during the prefight press conference yesterday at Dave & Buster’s.
No trash talking or self-promoting. These guys were downright respectful to each other.
"Actually no," said Vitale, when asked if he had anything derogatory to say about his opponent. "I have a lot of positive things (to say) about Dylan Clay. He’s very respectful. He’s coming at me and I have a lot of respect for this guy. It’s just two simple guys going in the ring and doing what we do."
Clay responded: "Likewise I have nothing bad to say about Niko. I’m actually a fan of Niko. I’ve watched his fights and I cheered for him. I like the guy. I don’t know him well, but he’s a good guy."
Vitale-Clay, which is scheduled for five 5-minute rounds, will headline an 11-bout card, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Blaisdell Arena. An X-1 championship will be on the line in 10 of the bouts.
"I would like it to be a war," Clay said. "I’d like to give the Hawaii fans a five-round war with Niko."
The fight will be for Vitale’s X-1 185-pound middleweight championship. Clay, the X-1 170-pound welterweight champion, had to bulk up for the fight. He said the last time he weighed himself about a week ago, he was 191.
"Obviously, I’m at a disadvantage in the weight," said Clay, of Durango, Colo. "He’s the (naturally) heavier guy. I trained really hard for it. I gained some weight myself and put some muscle on and hopefully that will help me out."
Vitale, of Waipahu, believes he will have the advantage in physicality.
"As far as the stronger fighter, I’m the stronger fighter," he said.
The fight likely will come down to grappling, with both fighters having more submission victories than knockouts. Vitale, 36, is 28-9 (16 submissions, 8 KOs); Clay, 32, is 8-2 (6 submissions, 2 KOs).
Vitale has gone up against some of MMA’s biggest names in the sport’s biggest promotions over a 12-year career.
I’ve been doing this sport for so long. I feel like I’m getting better as a fighter," Vitale said. "As far as age being a factor, I’m taking care of myself and my body."
Clay, who has been training in high altitude in Colorado, says he has played close attention to Vitale’s in-ring style.
"I try to study every fighter that I fight," Clay said. "We all have holes. None of us is a perfect fighter. That’s what we’re trying to do, exploit the other’s holes. I’ve been studying his game and seeing what he does and doesn’t do. I’m going to try and exploit it."
The co-main event will be X-1 lightweight champion Harris Sarmiento against challenger Max Holloway.
The X-1 bantamweight championship will not be contested after title holder Russell Doane suffered injuries in a recent car accident. His scheduled opponent, Van Oscar Penovaroff, will instead face Thomas Matias.
X-1 owner/promoter Mike Miller said he expects "3,000 to 4,000" to be at the Blaisdell tomorrow even though the event will be available statewide on Oceanic Cable pay-per-view (Ch. 260/high definition 1260) and streaming live on the Internet.
Miller said ticket prices at the Blaisdell are $35, $50, $75 and $100 (ring-side seating). The PPV on Oceanic Cable is $29.95; the on-line streaming live broadcast is $9.95 through X1Events.com.
He said PPV may cut into the attendance, but it’ll also expose more people to X-1, especially on the neighbor islands.
"Neighbor island fans are a lot stronger. They really come out and support," Miller said. "We have the best fighter from every island (on the card). It opens the door to a lot of people who may not be able to be here for the event."