When Team Lakay Wushu fighter Crisanto Pitpitunge challenges Pacific X-treme Combat bantamweight champion Justin Cruz at the main event of PXC 31, he’ll be hoping his teammates’ previous experience against his opponent gives him an edge.
“We already know about his techniques and his style,” Pitpitunge said in Filipino. “Everything on the ground, we’ve practiced and prepared for.”
Two of his Team Lakay teammates, founder Mark Sangiao and URCC flyweight champion Kevin Belingon, have been in the cage with the PXC champ before. The team is 1-1 against Cruz, with Belingon winning by unanimous decision and Sangiao losing by guillotine choke.
The team believes that those fights have helped in their preparation for Pitpitunge’s title fight.
According to Sangiao, who is also the head coach of the Baguio-based MMA team, Team Lakay has worked extensively on Pitpitunge’s ground defense in preparation for Cruz’ submission game.
“We’ll be testing Crisanto’s weakness against Justin’s strengths,” said Sangiao. “We know Justin is very good on the ground.”
“His specialty is more on chokes,” Pitpitunge said. “So that’s what we always practice, we’ve done a lot of escapes from chokes.”
Six out of Cruz’ eight submission wins have come from either guillotine or rear-naked choke.
Sangiao also said that the preparation for the fight has been a team effort. Everyone from the stellar MMA camp, including Team Lakay star Eduard Folayang, has helped Pitpitunge in training.
“In the sparring sessions, Crisanto has been sparring with Eduard and even some of the other strong guys like Mark Eddiva,” he said. “And the other guys from the gym who are good on the ground have also helped.”
And despite doing extensive preparation on the ground, the challenger stresses he will be prepared for anything when he steps into the cage on Saturday.
“In this fight, we’re ready for anything because this Mixed Martial Arts and you have to be prepared from every angle, be it on the ground or in the stand-up.”
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