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Superbrawl: Icon review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on February 6, 2010, 8:34 AM

Superbrawl: Icon

Honolulu, Hawaii

-Actually picked this up as part of a five-event set that Pro-Elite put out in 2008 before they crashed and burned. In an odd note itís labelled as Superbrawl 19, but in fact itís Superbrawl: Icon, the final show the company did before switching their name to Icon Sport. Last time I had a Superbrawl DVD, the quality was absolutely disgusting and near unwatchable in parts due to the sound jumping so badly. Hopefully this favours a little better.

-No clue on the hosts as we donít get an introduction segment.

Kickboxing Match: Ben Rodriguez vs. Kalani Ng

Ah, a kickboxing match to begin. Awesome. Note the sarcasm because youíre reading and canít hear it in my tone of voice. These guys are wearing headgear and everything. Shit.

This is three 90-second rounds and itís pretty awful to be fair, hence the lack of play-by-play. Rodriguez KOs Ng with a right hand at the end of the first round. Thank God thatís over.

Middleweight Fight: Kala Hose vs Corey Daniels

Hose is the guy who managed to beat Phil Baroni in EXC (or it mightíve been Icon under the EXC banner, I forget) during Philís horrible slide a while back. Never heard of Daniels before.

Hard low kick from Daniels early as he tries to establish a jab. This is three three-minute rounds. Suddenly Hose starts throwing bombs and they trade wild shots, with Daniels getting the better of it and snapping Hoseís head back a couple of times. Takedown from Daniels and they nearly go all the way out of the ring. Referee Yuji Shimada of PRIDE fame moves them to the center of the ring, where Daniels tries to cheat by getting into side mount. No dude, you were in half-guard. I fucking hate the ring. Hose scrambles to his feet. They exchange some wild, sloppy punches that Daniels gets the better of, and he ends the round by grabbing the Thai clinch to land some heavy knees. Danielsí round.

Round Two and Daniels is on the attack with punches again. Hoseís striking defense is appalling and Daniels is landing at will and snapping the head back with long, straight shots. Clinch from Hose but Daniels blocks a takedown and lands a knee, using his height to his advantage. Ref separates them and Daniels lands with a one-two. Hose avoids a superman punch and lands with a nice left hook. Right hand from Daniels to counter a low kick. Daniels keeps landing shots but Hose comes back with a right hook that drops him and Shimada stops it there.

Didnít look like Daniels was out to me but does it really matter? Replay shows Daniels randomly stopped to SPIT IN THE RING and thatís why Hose got the KO shot in. Huh. Pretty bad stuff to be honest, KOTC-level.

Kickboxing Match: Stoka Solla vs. Ikaika Choy-Fu

Oh man, another one? Announcer mentions that weíre seeing more and more kickboxing fights invading the Icon cards. WHY? He does namedrop DENNIS ALEXIO though which has me marking out. I have no clue which guy is which here. Finally the announcers say that Choy-Fu is in the gray trunks, Solla in the black. Itís three 90-second rounds again. What can you do in 90 seconds, honestly, unless the fighters are completely unskilled? A lot of the street fights Iíve seen have lasted longer than 90 seconds. Nothing of note in the first round really. This sucks.

DVD suddenly goes completely haywire in the second, causing me to skip the fight. Like anyone gives a crap anyway.

Middleweight Fight: Reese Andy vs Trevor Garrett

Andy actually did well in the IFL before a poor UFC run that saw him lose to Brandon Vera and Matt Hamill before being cut from the roster. I donít suspect heíll have many problems with a journeyman like Garrett though.

Andy lands strikes at will and rocks Garrett with a left early. Front headlock from Andy and he lands some knees as Garrett looks pretty lost in there. He manages to break off but Andy continues to tag him with punches, having zero problem with that at all. Takedown from Andy and he lands in side mount. Looks like heís going for a far-side keylock. He canít quite get it though and Garrett almost manages to move round into full guard. Andy looks too strong on the ground for him though and he moves back to side mount. Keylock attempt into full mount this time and the announcer claims Garrett ďisnít in a bad positionĒ. What fight is he watching? Punches from Andy as Garrett tries to hold on, and the armbar is RIGHT THERE but he doesnít go for it. Garrett gives his back, Andy locks up the rear naked choke, and thatís that.

Total squash match.

Kickboxing Match: Tyson Nam vs. Frankie DeJesus

You know what? Iím going to skip over this one too. I just have no interest in reviewing c-level kickboxing matches, sorry. Even if both guys have pretty cool names.

Kickboxing Match: Alex Zariello vs. Harris Sarmiento

For a second I thought we were back to the MMA when I saw the name of journeyman/JTTS Sarmiento there, but nope, itís still shoddy kickboxing. See above.

Middleweight Fight: Nick Ring vs Kimo Woelfel

Iím sure Iíve heard of Ring before and I think itís because he was the other guy, along with KJ Noons, who won some sort of open trial tournament to get a shot in PRIDE that naturally never materialized. KJ obviously went onto fame with EXC but Ring sort of fell off the face of the earth, despite still being unbeaten at 10-0 today. Odd.

Few low kicks by Ring but he leaves his hands down and eats a straight left from Kimo. No real effect and Ring comes back with some jabs and low kicks. He really needs to quit dropping his hands after the kicks though. Ring is using his reach to good effect here but heís leaving himself wide open and eating counters all the time. Knee is blocked and Kimo takes Ring down, but Ring looks for an elevator sweep and works his way into a reversal, taking top position in half-guard. Mount for Nick Ring and he locks up the rear naked choke for the tapout.

Ring looked slick on the ground but his striking was pretty woeful, which might explain why he never made it into the big show. Still, he won I guess and at 10-0 itís surprising he hasnít surfaced in Bellator or Strike Force or something given some of the guys that appear in those shows.

Post-fight we find out that Ring is supposedly representing PRIDE (LOL) and the announcer claims heís 23-4 or something in kickboxing matches. Really? He then picks Robbie Lawler to beat Niko Vitale in the main event and gets booed out of the ring as the announcer desperately tries to make him talk up a fight with Vitale. Ring says he doesnít care, heíll fight whoever PRIDE puts in front of him. Dude, youíre not even fighting in PRIDE!

-Interview backstage with Mark Moreno who is fighting Mayhem Miller later. Moreno is stoic and then they interview Mayhem who cuts a quasi-heel promo.

Lightweight Fight: KJ Noons vs Bryson Kamaka

I remember Kamaka from somewhere and a check on his record tells me he fought at Superbrawl 38 in a shitty fight with a guy called Chris Dawson. I reviewed that show back in 2005 and yet I still shudder at the memory of that fight. Noons, like Ring, is supposedly representing PRIDE here. He would of course go on to greater fame in EXC with his feud with Nick Diaz, and heís now with Strike Force these days though they havenít used him yet.

They exchange low kicks to open, advantage to KJ as he lands with some really heavy ones. Surprising that he hasnít really used his hands yet. Kamaka tries to counter but almost gets dropped by a low kick. Front kick from KJ and then he DECAPITATES KAMAKA WITH A RIGHT HEAD KICK.

Whoa, did not expect that finish from Noons as heís more known for his boxing. Kamaka looks badly hurt after the fight and doctors and the like flood the ring and call for a stretcher. Damn. That was one of the best kick knockouts Iíve seen in a long time. Replay shows the shin struck the top of the head, ala Mirko Cro Cop against Wanderlei Silva or Dos Caras Jr. Sick stuff.

-Robbie Lawler is backstage for an interview sporting shades and HAIR. He looks so young here itís not even funny. Incredible when you think heíd already been a semi-star in the UFC for three years or so at this point. Seems pretty relaxed, as does his opponent Niko Vitale.

Hawaii State Flyweight Championship: Ed Newalu vs Mark Oshiro

Newalu was also on the Superbrawl 38 card where he attempted a STONE COLD STUNNER if I recall correctly. Oshiro has a pretty solid record these days, 12-2 although he hasnít beaten anyone of note.

They circle before Newalu shoots on a single leg and lifts Oshiro up. Oshiro goes for a guillotine but gets SLAMMED TO THE MAT, although he still has the guillotine. He really squeezes on it in full guard and Newalu might be in trouble here. Newalu has so little bodyfat that you can pretty much see his spine as he wrenches at his head to try to free himself. Big pop as Newalu pops his head free and lands some punches. Oshiro looks to tie him up in the guard and tries to pull his leg up for rubber guard, but Newalu pulls a mini-slam out. Newalu breaks out of the rubber guard and really goes to work with the ground-and-pound before passing to side mount and then taking the back with both hooks. Punches from Newalu and it looks like heís got the rear naked choke sunk, but Oshiro manages to hang on even with the idiot PRIDE referee yelling ďGIVE UP?!Ē at him. Man, I do not miss that. Oshiro guts out the choke and manages to free himself, but Newalu goes for it again only for Oshiro to manage to shake him off and stand to end the round. That was surprisingly great. 10-9 Newalu.

Second round and Newalu catches a kick and looks for the takedown. Oshiro defends and lands a series of knees that hurt Newalu, bloodying his nose. Oshiro charges forward flurrying as Newalu looks in trouble, trying desperately to clinch to slow things down. Newalu finally drops for a takedown but his nose is mad bloody and Oshiro stuffs it and continues to land knees to the body while holding a front facelock. Ref calls time to check the nose, looks like it might be broken to me. Evidently not as they allow it to continue, and Oshiro stuffs another takedown. Newalu decides to drop to butterfly guard, but they come back up quickly and then Oshiro grabs a guillotine and pulls guard. Newalu works his head free and now heís going to work from the guard with punches. Triangle from Oshiro though and it looks pretty deep. Newalu postures up to escape and goes a good job of it, and weíre back up to standing. They clinch in the corner before the ref separates them. Both men look gassed now as they exchange some punches. Big right hand from Oshiro drops Newalu though and he dives for the legs again. Big bodyslam from Newalu as Oshiroís white trunks are pink from all the blood now. Newalu is in side mount, and then he takes the back as the round ends. This is a hell of a fight. 10-9 Oshiro so the winner of the third takes the fight.

Third round and Newalu pushes forward but takes a kick to the body. These guys are slowing down now and rightfully so really. Combo from Oshiro but Newalu manages to back up to avoid the power shots. Did I ever mention that the IDIOT JAPANESE REF is so annoying yelling ďACTION!Ē all the time? We have degenerated into low-level kickboxing though to be fair. Oshiro drops his hands a couple of times and gets whacked with some punches, before Newalu takes him down, landing in the guard. ACTION! Shut the hell up already, dude. Newalu passes and takes the back again, where we get a re-run of the first round as he works for the choke. ACTION! Heís on the guyís back you FUCKING IDIOT. Oshiro defends the choke as Newalu peppers him with punches, and the fight finishes in that position.

Really good fight. I think it must be Newaluís decision, 29-28, and the judges agree, well, majority decision with one going 28-28 for a draw. Well, I was expecting nothing there and got a total barnburner, so kudos to both fighters.

Lightweight Fight: Ryan Diaz vs Kolo Koka

Diaz fought a bunch of times in Canadaís TKO promotion to mixed results, and I remember a fight where he lost to Mark Hominick in pretty brutal fashion actually. Koka fought on the Superbrawl 38 card and came out dressed as Raiden from Mortal Kombat, a year or two before Kenny Florian randomly did the same at UFC 64.

We begin and they trade some kicks before Koka lands a right hand. Flurry from Koka and he backs Diaz up and gets a takedown. Apparently Diaz took the fight on short notice and was supposed to be a cornerman. Diaz works back to his feet from the guard and stuffs a second takedown. Koka keeps trying for it though and gets him down in the guard where he lands a couple of punches. Diaz looks cut and he takes a few more punches as he tries to cover up. Diaz kicks him away, but takes a few kicks to the legs until the ref stands him up. They check Diazís cut over as a close-up reveals Kokaís hair isnít hair at all, itís a TATTOO. Ugly. Like Bam Bam Bigelow. Flying knee from Diaz on the restart just misses. They clinch and both men look for a takedown, but itís Koka that gets it. He takes a couple of elbows though and then stands out of the guard. Ref calls Diaz back up and Koka lands a right hand to counter a low kick. Superman punch misses for Diaz. Koka tries for another trip takedown but this time Diaz blocks and gets on top, passing into side mount before the buzzer sounds.

2nd round and Diaz opens with some low kicks. Into the clinch and Koka gets a front facelock, then lands a good right hand that forces Diaz to his back. They get tangled in the ropes and the ref moves them into the center, and Koka stands over him to drop a few punches. Ref brings Diaz back up and they proceed to trade some pretty sloppy strikes. Diaz shoots and ends up pulling guard, but he takes a couple of punches again. This time though Koka gets really careless and Diaz locks on the WORLDíS MOST TELEGRAPHED ARMBAR for the tapout. Man, that was some terrible submission defense.

Pretty sloppy fight to be honest, not that it was horrible or anything.

Middleweight Fight: Jason ĎMayhemí Miller vs Mark Moreno

These two had ISSUES stemming back to Superbrawl 37 where Mayhem choked Ronald Jhun unconscious and Moreno jumped him post-fight, like a scene from pro-wrestling. Mayhem was just coming off his UFC loss to GSP and actually turned down a multi-fight deal with Zuffa to come back to Icon in a move I never understood. He couldíve been a big star had he signed with UFC back then as the TUF boom was just beginning. I guess Mayhem was still like the foreign heel in Hawaii at this stage after beating Jhun and Egan Inoue, although he was on the cusp of becoming the cult hero around the time of this fight. DVD tells us this is for the ďNorth American Lightweight ChampionshipĒ, but that has to be an error as since when has Mayhem ever been a Lightweight?

First round begins and Mayhem lands some low kicks before wading into a clinch and forcing Moreno into the corner. Knees from Mayhem and then he grabs a bodylock and easily takes Moreno down. Knees to the body from Mayhem and he really winds up on them, ala Heath Herring in PRIDE. Knee on belly now from Mayhem and he lands with hammer fists to the face and a knee to the head. Moreno is just being owned here, and this is reminiscent of Mayhemís squash over Shibata in DREAM. More knees to the body from Miller. Mayhem now gets the Hughes crucifix position and just goes to town, smashing at Moreno with punches to the head. Moreno desperately tries to get Mayhem off him but to no avail. Mayhem moves to knee-on-belly again and lands some more punches before setting up an armbar from full mount. He makes sure to WAVE THE HANG LOOSE SIGN at the crowd and then locks up the armbar for the tapout.

That was pretty much the definition of a squash, but to be fair it was a fun one simply because itís Mayhem and the guy canít help but be entertaining. Moreno was horribly outmatched and Mayhem drew it out until the last few seconds of the first round to finish him. Still, who can complain when a guy throws a shaka before an armbar?

Mayhem celebrates with his title belt post-fight....which turns out to be the WELTERWEIGHT belt, not the Lightweight one as the DVD said. And after a promo from Mayhem, Ronald Jhun hits the ring and demands a rematch, to which Mayhem says, why not do it right now? Jhun demands he get paid for beating up Mayhem, so Mayhem blows him off by saying heís noticed that a lot of Hawaiians tend to act tough when they have their boys around them, and the crowd boo loud for that, ha.

Superbrawl Middleweight Title: Niko Vitale vs Robbie Lawler

Lawler had moved up to 185lbs in late 2004 but ended up being submitted by Evan Tanner in what would be his last UFC appearance Ė he was booked to fight Phil Baroni in February 2005 at UFC 51, but pulled out through injury and I guess Zuffa cut his contract or something after that. After another pull-out saw us lose what couldíve been a hell of a brawl in the TKO organization between him and Patrick Cote, he ended up signing with Icon to face their Middleweight champ and general Hawaiian hero Niko Vitale here. Niko at this stage was still pretty relevant at 185lbs, as his only recent loss had come to Matt Lindland and he had wins over the likes of Dave Menne, Yushin Okami and Masanori Suda. So yeah, a pretty intriguing fight on paper.

First round begins and Lawler comes out guns blazing with two left high kicks, leaping off the ground for the second one. Niko doesnít seem rattled and goes for a single leg, driving Robbie into the corner. Lawler reverses position and they end up clinched, where they exchange some short rabbit punches. Referee calls the break and Vitale lands with a leg kick before Lawler fires back with another high kick and a couple of wild hooks. Flying knee from Lawler connects and Niko goes down, but it looks like he tried to pull guard or something as heís not hurt and they roll to their feet. Clinch again and they land with some short punches before the ref calls another break. Now Vitale comes wading in with punches and they trade wildly with neither man landing clean, until Lawler clinches and forces him into the ropes. Lawler goes to work with punches to the thighs but eats a pair of knees, and they trade inside the clinch. Crowd begin to chant for Vitale as he hits a BIG BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX that plants Lawler on the mat. Robbie reverses quickly though and powers up to his feet in another clinch. Ref calls the break and Niko misses with a body kick. Left hook from Niko and he stuffs a takedown, landing a knee to the head in the process. Lawler muscles him into the ropes and thatís the round.

Round Two and Lawler appears to have slowed down, as Niko wades in with a pair of hooks, landing heavily to the body. Lawler covers up along the ropes as Vitale flurries on him, and Lawler looks to be in big trouble! Suddenly Robbie starts swinging back, and we have a shootout! Big left lands for Lawler and now Vitaleís covering up! Holy crap, these guys are just trading off and Lawlerís taking over now. Niko manages to clinch to slow things down. Man, what a round so far. Big crowd chant for Niko as Lawler tries a standing guillotine, but Niko gets a BIG BODYSLAM to break and lands in side mount! Into north/south now and it looks like heís going to drop some knees, but instead he spins into side mount and then tries full mount, but Lawler escapes to guard. Niko stands over him, but takes a big upkick. Right hand drops down into the guard though and he rains down with blows before dropping back for a heel hook. Lawler slips free and stands, and then waves Vitale up. Both men look a little winded now. Lawler pushes forward, and they end up in the clinch, where Lawler works away with some hard hooks and uppercuts. Niko decides to take a big risk and jumps for a leg-scissor heel hook ala Ryo Chonan, but Lawler slips his leg free and they tumble through the ropes! Ref brings them back in to restart and Lawler pushes into the clinch again. Plum clinch from Lawler and he lands a knee, and follows with a pair of right hooks that rock Vitaleís world! Right-left finally drops Niko and Lawler throws his arms up in celebration before pouncing with hammer fists to completely finish things off. And of course, it wouldnít be Hawaii without some sort of post-fight fracas, as a random woman tries to jump Lawler as he celebrates and security flood the ring. Tremendous fight.

Post-fight Vitale puts Lawler over as a tough fighter, and then he puts over the Miletich camp as the best camp in the world, which probably wasnít far off back in 2005. This turns into a bit of a punchy rant about how Lawler and his guys can train full-time while most of the Hawaiian fighters, including himself, have to work full-time jobs. Then he straps the belt on Lawler, showing real class. Lawler then says he doesnít blame the women for attacking him and says he loves Hawaii.

Fight was pretty great for this level; the first round wasnít amazing but the second just turned into a tremendous brawl and either guy looked like they couldíve won, but in the end Lawlerís concussive power gave him the victory. He still looked like the wild Robbie Lawler from the UFC here though and has improved tenfold since this time. Pretty much the best level of main event youíre going to get from this sort of show.

-Show ends there.

Final Thoughts....

Take away the crappy kickboxing matches and this is a pretty solid card for this level of promotion actually. I mean, Lawler-Vitale was a great fight and Newalu-Oshiro was really good too where I wasnít expecting a thing. Outside of that, well, thereís not much of substance, but KJ Noonsí knockout was total highlight-reel stuff, and Mayhemís squash was enjoyable for what it was. Presentation wasnít great, but itís Superbrawl/Icon, what do you expect? Mild thumbs up overall.

Best Fight: Lawler-Vitale
Worst Fight: Any of the kickboxing

Overall Rating: ***

As I mentioned at the start, this came in a five-event set, with some mainly older Superbrawl shows. Two are tournament shows, one a Lightweight tourney involving Roger Huerta early in his career as well as a fight between Niko Vitale and Yushin Okami, so I might look at that in the future. The other one is a Heavyweight tournament won by Tim Sylvia to get him into the UFC initially, but the other two are nothing shows so I most likely wonít bother with them any time soon.

Coming Soon....

UFC: 104-107, Fight Night 20, TUF X Finale
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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