After controversial loss, Pearl City’s Kai Kamaka III seeking redemption at UFC on ESPN 28

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Kai Kamaka III

Pearl City’s Kai Kamaka III says he’s moving past a controversial split decision loss to TJ Brown on May 1. Despite one judge giving Kamaka a 30-27 score, the two other judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Brown. Additionally, 15 of 15 media members scored the fight in Kamaka’s favor in a separate panel.

Kamaka (8-4) now turns his attention to Saturday, where he’ll face Danny Chavez (11-4) in a featherweight bout at UFC on ESPN 28.

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“This sport can be cruel to you, but you have two choices: You can quit or you can move on. I’ve chosen to move on,” Kamaka told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “My feelings about the fight have stayed the same. I still feel that I won, but that’s why I just kept going.”

Time will tell if Kamaka ever gets a direct rematch with Brown. But breaking his two-fight losing streak on Saturday would still give the Kamehameha alum some sort of redemption, especially since Chavez defeated Brown on Aug. 15, 2020.

Kamaka’s debut fight in the UFC, which also netted him a $50,000 Fight of the Night Bonus, was a unanimous decision victory over Tony Kelley. Like the upcoming Chavez fight, Kamaka also took the Kelley bout on less than two weeks of notice.

After having accomplished the rare feat of fighting in the UFC, Kamaka hopes to accomplish the even rarer feat of having longevity in the promotion. It’s why he says taking the fight on short notice was a no-brainer.

“This is exactly everything I’ve dreamed of but we’re not dreaming anymore,” Kamaka said. “You gotta put in the work every day because everybody’s training, there’s another killer coming up right behind you so there’s no time to rest.

“I wanna have assets, I wanna buy houses, I wanna provide for my family, and the only way to do that is to keep winning. My personal goals and my athletic goals line up. I just gotta keep putting in the work.”

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