Standout young grappler Josh Sapinoso makes his pro debut at PXC 44: “Expect violence!”

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Pacific X-treme Combat 44 takes place on June 27, 2014 in Guam. A Guam versus Philippines match up is featured as featherweight prospect Kyle Reyes welcomes young champion grappler Josh Sapinoso.

Guam’s Reyes needs no further introduction as he is known for his threatening power and intimidating aura. He is a finisher who holds submission wins over Giovanni Sablan and former PXC lightweight champion Ronnie Borja. He also made quick work of Korean Top Team’s Taekyun Kim last October of 2013 with a jaw-dropping flying knee K.O.

Reyes will welcome Sapinoso with bad intentions as he is coming off a unanimous decision defeat against Krazy Bee’s Yusuke Yachi and wants to redeem himself from that downfall.

Meanwhile, Josh Sapinoso is a young and driven fighter from the Philippines with a lot of hype behind him. He trains alongside fellow PXC featherweight fighter Rolando Dy at KMA Fitness and Martial Arts. A finisher with strong wrestling and BJJ skills, Sapinoso holds a 3-0 amateur record and will enter the pro league with a ton of confidence as he submitted all of his foes during his amateur days.

Sapinoso’s BJJ skills are proven. He was a 2012 Copa Nova gold medalist and a 2013 Philippine International Open Champion; he also got the gold medal in the 2013 Asia-Pacific Submission Only tournament. Sapinoso is coming off a successful stint in the recently concluded Pan-Asians 2014 in Manila, in which he added another gold medal in his collection.

Additionally, Sapinoso’s wrestling credentials are verifiable. He is a two-time Philippine National Champion in Freestyle Wrestling and got gold medals in both the senior and junior divisions at the 2013 Philippine National Games.

MMA-in-ASIA got to know the standout amateur grappler Sapinoso who is turning pro at PXC 44.

MMA-in-ASIA: First off, can you talk a bit about yourself?

Sapinoso: Hey I’m Josh Sapinoso. I’m 21 years old. I was born in California. I moved to the Philippines in January of 2013. I’m of full Filipino heritage but I’m still trying to learn Tagalog.

MMA-in-ASIA: How did you get into the sport of MMA and who introduced you to it?

Sapinoso: I started wrestling at 12, BJJ at 17, and finally MMA in October of 2013. My BJJ teammate, Alcer Lozada, who is also a professional MMA fighter, is the one who got me my first amateur MMA fight in October of 2013. Although, fighting is something I’ve always wanted to do pretty much my entire life.

MMA-in-ASIA: You will be making your pro MMA debut on June 27th at PXC 44 against Kyle Reyes. What are your thoughts about him?

Sapinoso: Kyle has well-rounded skills, he’s got way more experience than me, he’ll have the home crowd advantage, and I’m a huge underdog coming into this fight. I don’t care about any of that. I don’t care if I’m fighting Mike Tyson or Mahatma Gandhi, I’ll train my ass off and fight my heart out regardless of who my opponent is.

MMA-in-ASIA: Kyle is known for having a very good all around MMA game. How confident are you that you will win your first pro debut against him?

Sapinoso: I’m very confident I have the potential to beat him. But potential doesn’t mean anything, results are what matters. To get results we will just have to find out on June 27th at the UOG field-house in Guam.

MMA-in-ASIA: In which camp or gym are you training with in preparation for this fight? Can you talk a bit about your training?

Sapinoso: The majority of my training is with Team Fabricio at KMA Fitness and Martial Arts. I also train with the Philippine national wrestling team (fun fact: I was selected to be a freestyle wrestling representative for the Philippines in the 2013 South East Asian Games but had to decline because I couldn’t secure a dual-citizenship in time). I’m constantly sparring with Rolando Dy, the guy who gave Kyle Reyes his first lost, and other great fighters at Team Fabricio like Wesley Machado (PXC) and Alcer Lozada (URCC). I train anywhere from 6-10 times a week, but that number will start to decrease as we get closer to the fight.

MMA-in-ASIA: Filipino fighters have been making waves in the international scene whether it be in boxing or MMA. Why do you think this is?

Sapinoso: Toughness and work ethic are just some things that run in our blood.

MMA-in-ASIA: Without giving away too much from your game plan, what holes do you see in Reyes’ game?

Sapinoso: He can be overly aggressive at times and from what I’ve seen from his recent fights, he lacks cardio.

MMA-in-ASIA: Are you nervous making your pro debut in one of Asia’s well-known promotions that’s televised? What are your nerves like heading to this bout?

Sapinoso: Yeah I can get pretty nervous. I’m always thinking about the fight – when I’m eating breakfast, driving to the gym, before I sleep, waking up. I’m always fighting him in my head and I’ve even had dreams about it a couple of times. I feel a little crazy. Training helps and calms me down.

MMA-in-ASIA: What can PXC fans expect from you on June 27th against Reyes?

Sapinoso: Expect violence.

PXC 44 features the Welterweight Title fight between Guam’s own Josh “Killa” Calvo and Sweden’s Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam. Also, Philippines’ Troy “The Hunter” Bantiag takes on another Guamanian fighter in Kyle Aguon for the co-main event of the evening.

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