By Rodney S. Yap
When you’re a fighter first, like Maui’s Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove, the size of the stage is not important.
What is important is the work being done. Grove has been busy doing what he does best and will be fighting for the third time with “Just Scrap Maui III” — headlining tonight’s 11-bout fight card against Big Island’s Chris Cisneros at War Memorial Gym.
Grove is seeking to extend his win streak to four, fighting for the sixth time this year and the second time in six days. The 6-foot-6, 185-pound middle weight is coming off a TKO victory on Nov. 3 against 44-year-old Ariel Gandula in a fight that took place across the pond at Victoria, B.C.
Grove won by TKO in the second round on punches. The win improved Grove’s MMA record to 17-10 and was the local fighter’s fifth win in his last six fights. In September, Grove signed a multi-fight contract with Aggression Fighting Championship (AFC), Canada’s fastest growing promotion companies on Canadian soil.
Hawaii’s “Just Scrap” Fight promotion, fueled by BJ Penn.com, has certainly kept Grove busy on the Valley Isle. Two months ago at the Lahaina Civic Center, Grove submitted Joe Cronin in the main event with a Brabo Choke in the first round. The evenings card boasted six spectacular main-card finishes and three entertaining bouts fought to decision.
Penn and Just Scrap debuted here on May 4, when Lolohea Mahe defeated Chad Thomas with a TKO, 17 seconds into the second round.
Grove, who was once a mainstay in the UFC for five years after winning Season 3 of the Ultimate Fighter under head coach Tito Ortiz. The Hawaiian native and graduate of Baldwin High School, which happens to be hosting a state quarterfinal playoff football game against visiting Mililani a stone’s throw away at War Memorial Stadium, went 7-6 fighting the best middleweights on the planet.
Grove, who will be turning 30 next month, last fought under the UFC banner in May of 2011, at the UFC 130 headlined by Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Grove lost to Tim Boetsh by unanimous decision. Boetsh has been unbeaten in four fight since and is currently ranked No. 5 in the middleweight division behind No. 1 Anderson Silva, No. 2 Chael Sonnen, No. 3 Chris Weidman and No. 4 Michael Bisping.
Cisneros is 13-5, mostly as a 170-pound welterweight. The Mountain View resident has loss his last two fights, posting seven straight wins before that. in fact, the 32-year-old fighter won 10 of 11 fights over a five-year period dating back to September 2007.
More recently, Cisneros two defeats were against Ben Saunders at the Bellator Fighting Championships in September of 2011 and then again to Koffi Adzitso by decision last July at the Sugar Creek Casino in Oklahoma.
Grove’s last defeat on Maui was in 2005 at the Lockdown in Paradise 1 at Lahaina Civic Center, against Savant Young, who used a Guillotine Choke to submit Grove with two minutes remaining in the first round.
Grove last won four straight fights — over a 19-month period — between Oct. 7, 2005 and April 7, 2007 when he improved to 8-3. He would lose four of his next six fights, the last coming against Boetsch.
Tickets are on-sale now for the event and can be found right here at BJPENN.COM/TICKETS. Participants in our on-line pre-sale can secure General Admission seating for $25.00 and Cageside seats for a mere $35.00.
Below is the “Just Scrap III” full-fight card: