PXC 41 in Manila crowns new Champ Smolka, Filipina Iniong gets a KO for WMMA

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Pacific Xtreme Combat 41 took place on November 9, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The strongest typhoon ever to make landfall narrowly missed the metro city and PXC went ahead as planned, to a packed Ynares Sports Arena. The Philippines deep MMA culture means that fighters and fans come from the provinces to the events, so many of those attending PXC 41 may have returned to devastation. MMA-in-ASIA urges our readers to seek out reputable relief-providing organizations with anything you can contribute to those left struggling in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda’s deadly destruction.

Two of the night’s most weighted bouts were unfortunately cancelled just a day prior due to weight cut failures: DEEP champ SeungHwan Bang watched as Frank Camacho could barely stand on the scale so the doctor scrapped any hope of a catchweight, and Ev Ting couldn’t drop to a reasonable catchweight to rematch fan favorite Mark Striegl.

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Of the seven fights that remained scheduled, none disappointed. The Red Horse-fueled crowd was hyped even before the opening bell as well-known PXC fighter’s video intros were played on the big screen. Then, from the first entrance, they were vocal about their favorites. Big John McCarthy wasn’t on hand, instead Thomas Fan, UFC ref and former Legend FC head ref oversaw the action. The round girls also had their own fan clubs – with banners waving – cheering them on for added measure.

Spinning strobes and smoke were the only glitter the fighters had for their entrances. Smacked between the crowd and the cage on a riser, the pressure for each was palpable. Shane Alvarez versus Rodel Orais were the first to feel it. Alvarez held a quiet demeanor about him and waited out Orais’ ferocity to change levels and shoot. That was all he needed. Alvarez mounted Orais and dislocated his arm with a kimura that may have been initiated when he braced the takedown, so a stretcher was called in. Alvarez’ nose got sheared in half as well in the aggressive opener.

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The second bout went the distance, as Harold Banario and Joseph Mercado locked horns for three rounds. Banario was in it to show off his two months of wrestling preparation, and while it wasn’t polished, it was solid. The more experienced Mercado was hard-put in the clinch and on the ground, with Banario even opening up his face. In the second, Mercado was able to reverse on the ground and do some damage, but Banario scored with the most work. The third was a bit slower, and while Banario did the damage on his feet this round, Mercado claimed mount to finish strong. Banario got the deserved win and raised a few eyebrows at Team Lakay’s new wrestling skills.

Troy Bantiag versus Jonathan Pecyna could only be described as mayhem. The crowd went absolutely nuts as Bantiag rocked Pecyna with a head kick right out of the corner, then swarmed him to get a career-ending rear naked choke. Pecyna survived it to stand and get his own huge double leg, then he threw everything in the book at Bantiag until a perfect arm triangle opportunity opened up. Great scrap from the two bantamweights.

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The next fight alternated back to a 15-minute battle as Ernesto Montilla Jr took on Jinel Lausa. The game plans were obvious from the get-go, and it was a war to see which man would get the better with his strategy. Montilla showed his edge in blistering form with continual takedowns, frustrating Lausa. The nail in the coffin for Lausa was a yellow card point deduction for an illegal up kick to Montilla was on his knees at the time.

Gina Iniong versus Nathalie Heidel made history as the first female bout PXC hosted in the Philippines. Filipina Iniong, a sanshou proponent, met Heidel, a boxing transitioner, in their much-heralded PXC debut. Iniong immediately engaged with striking, while Heidel looked for the takedown. Iniong landed in guard but Heidel worked well off her back and got the bout standing. But as she stood, Iniong rocked her with a right and the crowd leaped to their feet. To a soundtrack of a deafening roar, Iniong had to be pulled off Heidel by the ref, a spectacular finish that put her on the women’s MMA map.

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Crisanto Pitpitunge versus HanBin Park was the technical match of the night. For three rounds, Park showed excellent takedown strategy and Pitpitunge showed incredible striking speed. Pitpitunge would throw a hook and Park would shoot under it, sometimes getting the flashy td, sometimes Pitpitunge countering. Pitpitunge’s leg kicks were brutal. The second round defined the phrase “back-and-forth action”. Just as it seemed Pitpitunge had Park’s number and was forcing him on the counter action, Park surged with a combo and knees in the clinch. The third round started off with a… hug. Park’s Korean Top Team guys are respected and liked by the Filipino crowd and fellow fighters. But upon the “break”, Park showed no more love. He smelled blood and assaulted Pitpitunge, quickly taking him down and choking him out. An excellent fight from both men, and one with title challenger ramifications.

The final fight of the night was Flyweight Champion Ale Cali versus Challenger Louis Smolka. Predictions of a five-round war were dismissed as they set a blistering pace in the first round. Smolka threw nice jabs and took a chance with a flying knee, and Cali reacted with a barrage of body shots. Smolka changed the strategy with a take down and opened up Cali’s eye with elbows, but Cali reversed and worked from the top on Smolka. Smolka ended the round with another take down and mount, and that was his strategy for round two. It was quickly successful and the belt changed hands to the new Flyweight Champion of PXC, Louis Smolka.

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PXC 41 was the promotion’s final fight of 2013, and they will spend the remaining part of the year planning for 2014. Three early title matches are in the works, as well as possible expansion to another market. This news and much more of PXC’s 2014 plans can be read in our recent in-depth interview with CEO EJ Calvo here.

PXC 41
November 9, 2013
Ynares Sports Arena
Manila, Philippines

Louis Smolka defeats Ale Cali by TKO, rd 2
Han Bin Park defeats Crisanto Pitpitunge by Submission, RNC, rd 3
Gina Iniong defeats Nathalie Heidel by TKO, rd 1
Ernesto Montilla Jr. defeats Jinel Lausa by Unanimous Decision (29-27, 30-26, and 30-26)
Jonathan Pecyna defeats Troy Bantiag by Submission, Arm in choke, rd 1
Harold Banario defeats Joseph Mercado by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Shane Alvarez defeats Rodel Orais by TKO, rd 1

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