It took five months, but the wait was well worth it. PXC 31 marked the return of Pacific X-treme Combat to the Philippines, and it resulted in the crowning of another homegrown Filipino champion.
Ale Cali set the tone back in February by stopping Guamanian Jesse Taitano to earn the flyweight (125-lb) title, and now Crisanto Pitpitunge has solidified the country’s burgeoning mixed martial arts reputation by snatching Justin “The Shocker” Cruz’s bantamweight (135-lb) title.
In front of a packed Ynares Sports Arena, the main event started at a blistering pace, with both fighters not wasting any time in trading a bit of leather. Right from the get-go you could sense that despite the pair’s famed durability and stamina, this wasn’t likely going to be a fight that would go to a decision.
The Guamanian struck first in the opening exchanges, landing a solid left hook that had Pitpitunge staggered. Cruz tried to capitalize, but the Team Lakay fighter came back to his senses very quickly. And just as the fight started to show signs that it might start to settle down a bit, the champion lunged for a superman punch that the Filipino countered with utter perfection.
As Cruz was coming in, Pitpitunge’s short right straight landed square on his exposed left chin, knocking Cruz completely unconscious. The Filipino’s title-winning performance put the icing on an extremely entertaining night of fights that only saw two fights go the distance.
Tristan “Titay” Arenal enjoyed a winning return to the PXC by submitting Richie Redman in the battle of the Filipino-Americans, but it wasn’t before receiving plenty of punishment. The co-main event was a very tentative affair, with both fighters showing plenty of respect for each other’s power.
There was plenty of measured boxing, with neither really looking to dabble in any prolonged exchanges. Arenal’s battered face showed who was getting the better of the stand-up duel, as both his eyes were almost shut. Redman’s constant peppering of jabs and lead straights may not have stunned Tristan, but it was certainly doing plenty of damage.
Having lost to Jon Tuck in devastating fashion back in February, Titay was under a lot of pressure to get back to winning ways, and after two rounds it wasn’t looking good for him. Battered, bruised and exhausted, he was entering a third round where he could well have been needing a knockout or a submission to win.
With his back against the wall, Arenal came out more aggressive in the last round, and was duly rewarded. A strong body shot had Redman reeling, forcing the former Division II All-American wrestler to ditch his game plan and close the distance. The clinch gave Tristan the opportunity to strap on a tight guillotine choke, but Richie did well to defend. As he was pulling his head out though, Arenal transitioned beautifully to an armbar, forcing Redman to tap out with only seconds left in the fight. It was a sensational comeback.
In the other fights, Trevin Jones made a strong statement to be the number one contender in the Bantamweight division, making light work of Filipino Guzman Pia-Yas. He took down, mounted, and took the back of his opponent with relative ease, before finishing the fight with a Rear Naked Choke.
Troy Bantiag put on another impressive performance to grab his second straight PXC win. The Team Lakay fighter used his superior wrestling to dominate Joseph Mercado from start to finish. Eugene Toquero got his second PXC victory as well after his vicious elbow opened up a nasty cut on Victor Torre’s forehead forcing the doctor to stop the fight in the opening round.
American Alvin Cadlac won via first round submission over Filipino Rex Wa-O. Rolando Gabriel Dy submitted Alde Alonzo De Soza with a Rear Naked Choke. Micky Favis secured the only other decision of the night, out pointing Glen Ranillo. Arex Montalban opened the night with first round knockout of Jerry Legaspi.
Another PXC, another Filipino champion. The Philippines is quickly solidifying its ability to produce top level warriors.
All those witness to the night’s action need not worry about a a long wait this time around, as it was announced that the next event will be held in September, with Jon Tuck and Harris Sarmiento headlining a card that will see Ale Cali defend his title against Filipino MMA pioneer Erwin Tagle. Two title fights on one card. Craziness. It’s only a month and a half till another insane night of fights!
Josue Jamlang covers football and MMA for InterAKTV. Follow him on Twitter for more MMA discussion.
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