July 14, 2012

Crisanto Pitpitunge Successfully Wrests PXC Bantamweight Belt From Justin Cruz Of Guam

Three mixed martial artists from Team Lakay entered the cage in PXC 31 last Saturday night. Two were victorious. One lost via a brutal submission.

PXC (an acronym for Pacific Xtreme Combat) is an MMA organization operating within and around the Pacific region with fighters coming from Guam, Hawaii, California, the Philippines,etc. For their 31st major fight event, which was held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, the headlining bout was a championship battle between challenger Crisanto Pitpitunge and current champion Justin Cruz.

Pitpitunge, a native of Benguet and a Team Lakay fighter wasted no time in knocking the daylights out of Cruz in the very first stanza. The round started out well for the champion who moved around the cage effectively. In the first minute of the fight, Cruz looked like the quicker and more well-rounded fighter until he tried that superman-punch which eventually turned to be the cause of his demise. While he was backing down, Cruz suddenly leaped for a superman-punch. Pitpitunge countered with a beautiful straight right which went straight to Cruz's jaw. That's all she wrote. Fight is over.

Cruz, clearly out, dropped face-down into the mat. Pitpitunge went in and landed a few more blows into the downed champion. Referee leaped in and stopped the fight. And Pitpitunge is crowned the new PXC bantamweight champion.

Before the main event between Pitpitunge and Cruz, two other Team Lakay fighters saw action inside the cage – Troy Bantiag and Rex Wa-o.
From left to right: Crisanto Pitpitunge, Troy Bantiag and Rex Wa-o.

Rex Wa-o, a native of Tadian, Mt. Province fought a cage veteran in Alvin Cacdac, a fighter hailing from California. Just by looking at the fighters' records, it is a huge mismatch. Wa-o, who is just 22 years old has only 3 fights in his resume. It's also rather shady what those three wins are. He is listed on Sherdog with just 1 fight and a loss at that. He however has 3 professional boxing bouts, all of which are victories. This could be the "3" listed on his record as presented by PXC. This means that his fight with Cacdac was his second MMA fight. Cacdac, on the other hand, had 17 fights (10 wins, 7 losses). Cacdac was a mile-high step-up of opposition for Wa-o. It just doesn't seem right. It's understandable that a fighter would take any fight that is offered him. However, in this case, Wa-o bit more than he can chew. He got submitted in the first round.

Cacdac has fought in Strikeforce and IFC, two well-known MMA organizations. I just don't understand why PXC allowed Wa-o who only fought once (and lost) in MMA to share the ring with a veteran like Cacdac. PXC literally fed him to the lion's den. They should have matched Wa-o with a fighter who shares the same experience as him.

Wa-o went into the fight, confidential that his striking abilities will notch him a win. Cacdac, the much more experienced fighter that he is, immediately got a takedown, broke down Wa-o, then choked him. Wa-o tapped. Being a huge MMA fan myself, I cannot help but criticize Wa-o's ground game. He almost had zero defense once Cacad went on top of him. He kept turning on his back which in the end was capitalized on by Cacad to execute the rear-naked choke. He needs huge improvements with his ground game.

The third Team Lakay fighter who saw action last night was Troy Bantiag, a native of Kalinga. He defeated Joseph Mercado via unanimous decision. It's the 20-year old's second professional fight. It was a hard-fought bout. Bantiag deserved the win as he controlled the fight with his takedowns and ground-and-pound. He defeated Mercado fair and square. Bantiag also needs improvement with his ground game. Even when he was on top of Mercado, he was very vulnerable to submission attempts. During the first round, he was repeatedly being headlocked by Mercado. Fortunately, Mercado was never able to pull through with his attempts.

Overall, it was a good night for Team Lakay. They got two wins and just one loss.





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