The explosive, exciting, and extreme action of Pacific Xtreme Combat opens 2016 with a double championship co-main event at the Solaire Resort and Casino. Who will go home with shiny new hardware?
WHEN the championship contenders faced off during the PXC 51 Press Conference at the Solaire Theatre Foyer, they all walked in with smiles on their faces. But there was no denying the fire in their eyes as each one is just a step or a tap away from their golden aspirations come Saturday when they walk inside the Terrordome. The card is a stacked affair: Team Lakay rising star Stephen Loman, who’s been a monster in the amateur ranks of PXC Laban MMA, makes his Manila debut versus Rex De Lara of the ITSMAI Iloilo Tinagan School of Martial Arts; the flashy Rolandy Gabriel Dy looks to get back on the winning track against the dangerous Miguel Mosquera; and the ladies are also going to war with Vanessa Fernandez going up against Team Lakay’s Gina Iniong. But the spotlight is going to be on the four gentlemen in the championship bouts.
PXC Bantamweight Championship: Kyle Aguon (Champion) vs Kwan Ho Kwak
Aguon (9-4, 3 submissions) defends his title against the undefeated Kwan Ho Kwak (7-0, 6 KOs) who’s made a name for himself as a powerful and flashy finisher in his MMA career.
Kyle Aguon mentioned his experience as an MMA fighter as his main advantage, having logged in more bouts compared to the challenger. This is technically his first official title defense as Rolando Gabriel Dy failed to make weight during their scheduled championship bout in PXC 48, also the rematch of their PXC 45 title fight where Aguon won the vacant bantamweight title. Aguon is a well-balanced fighter who has a great ground game – his three submission victories can vouch for that.
Kwan Ho Kwak walked into the press conference with great confidence – coming out of the famed Korean Top Team which has produced world-class UFC fighters, Kwak is looking to be the next big thing from Korean MMA. He holds victories over PXC veterans like Trevin Jones and Han Bin Park, whom he knocked out in both meetings.
Aguon is excellent in gameplan execution: he takes the fight to the ground when up against known strikers, scrambles quickly out of dangerous situations versus grapplers, and sticks to what he does best: striking with accuracy and using his refined ground game to overwhelm his opponents. While he’s lost fights, he’s never been knocked out nor has he tapped out.
Kwak is competing in his second PXC event, but his fight resume proves he has tremendous power from either his fists, his kicks, or his spectacular flying knee. He jumps out of the corner and rushes you – he likes to set the tone and the pace of the fight, sort of a web to entrap his opponents into fighting his pace, his style. So far in seven fights, he’s been successful.
Aguon is a master of controlling the fight pace thanks to his all-around ability. His footwork helps him get out of harm’s way, he grinds in tight clinches, and stays active in standup situations. Kwak’s stamina will be put to the test: can he maintain his high octane, firing on all cylinders fighting style against an experienced champion? He definitely has a game-changing weapon: his power. One punch, one kick, one well-placed knee could end the fight just like that.
PXC Flyweight Championship (Vacant): Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge vs “Demolition” Jenel Lausa
The Flyweight title will be an all-Filipino affair with Crisanto Pitpitunge and Jenel Lausa disputing the championship formerly held by another Filipino, the late Ale Cali.
Had Pitpitunge made weight in PXC 48, the Team Lakay fighter would enter PXC 51 as the defending champion after his brutal knockout win against the former champion Alvin Cacdac. He’s called “The Slugger” for good reason, three of his eight wins are via KO with three decision wins and one submission. Pitpitunge is riding a three-fight win streak over some big name opponents, outpointing Josh Duenas and famous veteran Rambaa Somdet and then knocking out Cacdac.
Jenel Lausa, on the other hand, is hungry for recognition. While admitting that he has looked up to Crisanto Pitpitunge for most of his young career, he promises there will only be fireworks inside the Terrordome when they lock up. He also brings a three-fight win streak with victories over Venson Delopere, an easy submission win against dangerous striker Dean Bermudez, and knocking out former title contender Ernesto Montilla Jr.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Crisanto and Jenel turn this into a stand-and-bang affair – both are former boxers with dynamite in their fists. Pitpitunge actually won his bantamweight title with a crunching counter, and could be looking to be the first man in PXC history to win championships in different weight divisions. After his fight with Cacdac, Pitpitunge mentioned that he feels faster as a flyweight, and in the fight game as we all know, speed kills.
Lausa is no slouch as a striker as well with a 40% KO rate. When he fights, it also seems like he’s flying because he always uses the entire floor looking for angles for his sharp combinations. Lausa’s an active striker who wears his opponents down before the final blow that puts them down.
Pitpitunge could be the more powerful puncher, but Lausa could be the fighter quicker on his feet. Most fight fans would give the advantage to Lausa because you can’t hurt what you can’t hit, and he can hurt you from any angle. But like the notorious Conor McGregor said postfight after demolishing Jose Aldo, “Precision beats speed anytime”. And if Lausa doesn’t touch up on his boxing and doesn’t review his history, then another Crisanto Counter could end the fight just like that.
The prime time telecast of PXC 51 will be on Sunday, January 17, at 10:00 P.M. on TV5.