MANILA, Philippines - A pair of locals and Fil-Am fighters will co-headline the Pacific X-Treme Combat when it holds its PXC 34 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night.
The Davao-based Ale Cali will stake his flyweight crown against a comebacking submission specialist Erwin Tagle in a five-round bout while Mark Streigl and Harris Sarmiento battle each other in a five-round, non-title bout headlining the fightcard put up by the Guam-based fight organization that has grown in prestige and stature the last two years.
“Two years ago we started out in the Phl small and in humble beginnings and we always talked about going to a big venue like the Araneta Coliseum,” said PXC chief EJ Calvo on Thursday's press conference at the Gateway Suites.
“Now who would’ve thought that we’re holding the PXC at the Araneta Coliseum now.
“We’re happy we’ve reached this far, but really, this is for the fans who we think are growing and growing each time we hold our PXC event here,” he added.
Vito Lazatin, head of TV5’s sports arm Sports5, which will telecast PXC 34 live on AKTV on IBC13, said PXC 34 is the biggest MMA event it will air on local shores.
“I’ve always been saying every press conference but I’m saying it again, this PXC 34 is the biggest ever because we’re going to the Araneta Coliseum,” he said.
Former PXC champion and The Ultimate Fighter veteran John Tuck, who debuted in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a victory over Chinese Zhang Tiequan in UFC’s first venture to China in Macau last week, also graced the event launch.
“If not for a great partner like PXC, I will not be in the UFC now,” said Tuck, who has improved to 7-0 capped by his smashing win over Zhang.
The 21-year-old Cali, who seized the flyweight crown after beating Guamanian Jesse Taitano in the PXC 29 early this year to become the first Filipino champion in the PXC, is expected to test his newfound takedown defense.
In fact, Cali has not only polished his jiu-jitsu skills but also trained with former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Marciano Basas to sharpen his wrestling skills particularly his takedown defense against Tagle, whose last fight came two years ago.
“I’m still in the process of training my jiu-jitsu but I got to focus on improving my takedown defense thanks to coach Marciano Basas, who taught me some wrestling,” said Cali, who is 4-1 (win-loss) now, in Filipino.
As for Streigl and Sarmiento, both are upbeat of their respective chances.
“I don’t care who I fight against, all I want is to fight and to win,” said the 29-year-old Sarmiento, who owns a fight record of 35-23.
“We all know Harris is a great fighter but I’m also here to win so I guess we’ll both fight and go for the win and take a beer together after,” said the 24-year-old Streigl, who is unscathed in 11 fights.
Other fights lined up are Fil-Am Tristan Arenal versus Isiah Ordiz, Guy de Lumeau against Dustin Kimura, Wang Sai versus Hasumi Hikaru, Jerome Wanawan against Eugene Toquero, Michonori Tanaka versus Russell Doane, Wu Qize against Hong Seung Chan and Steve Grandeza versus Kyle Aguon.
Also making the heavy, power-packed 12-bout fightcard are bouts pitting Bryan To Hang Lam against Louis Smolka, Dario Banario versus Ernesto Montilla Jr. and Patrick Manicad against Zebaztian Kadestam.
PXC is presented by San Mig Strong Ice and Sports 5 with supporters like E-Games, Fitness First, FHM Phl, FHM.com.ph, Premier Condoms, Healthway Agility Phl, Beer Below Zero, Real Sports Radio and Local.ph.
Tickets are available at all Ticketnet outlets or at www.ticketnet.com with prices pegged at P3,500 (ringside), P2,400 (VIP), P1,200 (lower box) and P400 (upper box).