Stepping in on short notice at UFC Vegas 33 on Saturday was Hawaii’s Kai Kamaka III. The featherweight was seeking his second win inside the promotion against Danny Chavez — and was in must-win territory, having lost his last two bouts.
The difference between being 2-2 in the UFC, and 1-3, was immense, and Kamaka was frank about a controversial loss to TJ Brown earlier this year “screwing up my negotiating power” with the promotion. But a big win Saturday could change all that.
Chavez, at 1-1, was looking to avoid a similar predicament to Kamaka.
The first started surprisingly slow at first. Each man looked to find the range with kicks – Kamaka stayed mostly low, but Chavez mixed it up to the head too. Chavez shot with a takedown and saw a brief bit of control and worked to the back, but Kamaka worked out in little time. The rest of the round played out pretty much like the early part. Kamaka seemed to find a bit more of the range with his kicks, and both added some hands. However, it was largely a tactical first round.
The aggression picked up early in the second for Chavez as he looked to land some big one-twos. Kamaka continued to work the calf hard and the aggression from Chavez seemed to do little to deter it. Chavez, not liking the leg kicks, shot a takedown, but it was from entirely too far away. In an exchange Kamaka stuck a finger in the eye of Chavez and he immediately dropped, writhing in pain. After a very long look by the doctor, Chavez was able to continue – with Herb Dean still not taking a point. Then almost immediately Kamaka landed a hard knee to the crotch of Chavez. This time Kamaka lost a point for his infraction. Upon the restart, Chavez seemed to be angered and came out twice as aggressive. He scored a bit better at the end of the round than Kamaka and the longest round ever finally ended.
Chavez swung big with the hands to start and ate a few more leg kicks. He shot a takedown, but couldn’t finish it and Kamaka countered with an attempt of his own. Chavez wound up pressed against the cage with Kamaka stomping the feet periodically. Chavez meanwhile landed a few elbows to the side of Kamaka’s head. With just over a minute, they finally separated. Chavez landed a lead left hook and then shot a takedown of his own again with nothing doing. He blitzed forward to end the round, but only landed glancing blows as the horn sounded. The end result – two of three judges scored the fight a draw, thanks to the point deduction. One judge awarded the fight to Kamaka.
Official Result: Danny Chavez and Kai Kamaka fight to Majority Draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)