November 10, 2013

PXC 41 Results and Recap: Team Lakay Wins Two Out of Four

Last night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, four mixed martial artists from Team Lakay took turns in entering the cage and battling it out with their respective opponents. Two emerged victorious. The other two lost via brutal submissions. The four Cordilleran MMA artists fought in the undercard of PXC 41 (Pacific X-Treme Combat 41) which was headlined by the flyweight championship bout between current belt-holder Ale Cali and challenger Louis Smolka (which Smolka won via technical knockout).

Fighters from the Team Lakay group are fixtures in MMA promotions and cards here in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. They are known for their often aggressive style of cage-fighting. However, being aggressive isn't the only key to winning fights in the ever-evolving world of mixed martial arts. PXC 41 has shown once again that Team Lakay fighters have the abilities to be there in the ring but there's a huge BUT. The event has also shown for the nth time the weaknesses and flaws in their fighting styles. Needless to say, their ground game is just not there. And too often, they are very vulnerable to submissions. The same can be said in most of their outings in URCC, ONE FC and previous PXC cards. This is a common comment about Team Lakay fighters. They are fighting reckless and always swinging for the fences hoping for a knockout punch to land.

However, there are noticeable improvements in their performances during PXC 41. Crisanto Pitpitunge in particular looks like a different fighter with the improvements in his fighting style. Although he lost via submission (rear-naked choke) to Han Bin Park, there's no doubt that he's a better and smarter fighter compared to an older version of himself.

Here's our recap of the four fights:

Crisanto Pitpitunge (Team Lakay) vs. Han Bin Park (South Korea):
Pitpitunge came out strong in the first round with a good showing on his striking skills. He was mixing punches, jabs and kicks very well. His movement and footwork were also much better compared to his recent fights. He clearly won the first round.

Pitpitunge looked even better in the second round. He was able to land punches, jabs, leg kicks and high kicks. His takedown defense is also impressive. Han Bin Park tried taking him down to the mat but he wasn't successful. Although the Korean had Pitpitunge slightly hurt in the last minute of the round, Pitpitunge still won the round.

The third round was a totally different story. Han Bin Park came out throwing kicks and hard punches, several of which found their mark. Bloodied and on the ground, Pitpitunge tried to fight off Han Bin Park's onslaught. The Korean grab hold of Pitpitunge, jumped on his back, and submitted him via a rear-naked choke.

Gina Iniong (Team Lakay) vs. Nathalie Heidel (France):
Iniong caught Heidel in the first minute with a barrage of punches but the French fighter who was fighting for the very first time shook them off. Heidel was able to take down Iniong and attempted a submission but she was unsuccessful. Back on their feet and with just two minutes remaining in the round, Iniong knocked down Heidel then jumped in for the kill with ground and pound. Referee Donny Elvina stopped the fight. Iniong improves to 2-1-0.

Troy Bantiag (Team Lakay) vs. Johnny Pecyna (United States):
Bantiag clipped and dropped Pecyna in the first minute. Bantiag jumped on the American and tried to submit him via rear-naked choke but wasn't able to do it. Pecyna was able to get back on his feet, take down Bantiag then submit him via arm-triangle choke. It's Bantiag's second loss in a row and his record drops to 5-3-0. It's Pecyna's first MMA victory.

Harold Banario (Team Lakay) vs. Joseph Mercado: 
Banario remained undefeated and improved his record to 4-0-0 by defeating Mercado via unanimous decision. It was however a rather close fight. It's a good win for Banario and Mercado is one tough dude but Mercado lost his last two fights and has only won once. If you struggle against a guy like him, what happens if you get to face someone with a record that matches yours?

In the first minute of the first round, Banario pinned Mercado to the wall of the cage then took him down to the mat. Mercado was able to get up but he was taken down again by Banario. A straight right punch from Banario also opened a nasty gash in Mercado's left eyebrow. The other two rounds had Banario out-punching and out-wrestling Mercado.

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