UFC 131 just ended, but there's another notable MMA event that happened this weekend. Pacific X-Treme Combat, Guam's premier Mixed Martial Arts promotion, made their first trip to the Philippines this weekend. BloodyElbow.com was on hand for the event dubbed 'PXC 24: Manila', which saw eight MMA bouts at the Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila.
The show was headlined by a PXC Heavyweight Title bout, a rematch between the champion, Roque Martinez of Guam, and Kelvin Fitial of Saipan. Their first bout ended up in a controversial draw back in January on PXC 22, and neither fighter wanted to let this go to the judges hands this time.
After a feeling out period with both guys starting out relatively slow during the first two and a half rounds, the 6-foot-3 Fitial picked up the pace on the later parts of the third round as he dominated the clinch with massive elbows that clearly hurt Martinez. The fourth round was more of the same with the challenger getting the better on the clinch and on the mat. He threw elbow after elbow, prompting the referee to stop the fight late in the fourth. Fitial finally won the championship he felt he had already earned 5 months ago, but this time, he made a clear statement and left Martinez in a bloody mess.
After the jump, highlight videos, plus a complete rundown on the rest of the card. Also, coming up this week, keep an eye out for our exclusive PXC 24 photo gallery.
Heavyweight Championship: Kelvin Fitial def. Roque Martinez by TKO (Elbows and Punches) - Round 4, 4:52.
Both these guys were over 245 lbs, and as we can come to expect with heavyweight matches in MMA or other combat sports, it can get a bit sloppy. There were a few of those moments in the first two rounds when neither fighter was landing much as they were both trying to find their range and timing. As I said above, things did pick up on a huge way during the third and fourth rounds with Fitial dominating in the clinch. He threw damaging elbows, and while I would've loved to see him use more knees in the clinch, he was still able to get the job done. He won the title, and left Martinez battered, and bruised in a puddle of his own blood.
135 lbs: Joe Taimanglo def. Young Jun Kim by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Round 1, 1:23
Joe Taimanglo made short work of the Korean Top Team product. He got a takedown, took his back, applied a tight body triangle, and choked Young Jun Kim out in less than 2 minutes. Taimanglo, who was one of the final cuts during the recent Ultimate Fighter tryouts, mentioned that he had a lot of trouble making weight. It didn't show on his performance though.
150 lbs: Rafael Dias vs Kim Jang Yong - (Draw)
Rafael Dias, a WEC veteran, is a blackbelt in jiujitsu. His opponent, Kim Jan Yong, is a wrestler from Korean Top Team. As we could expect from their styles, both fighters cancelled each other out. Round 1 was a gritty grappling battle with Dias having trouble to take his opponent down, but he did complete a few ones, and even got the back during the end of the round winning him the round clearly. The next two rounds though, were extremely close, but Kim got a point deducted on the second round for grabbing the fence multiple times. Dias was relentless with his takedown attempts, but Kim kept on defending them well. Apart from a few brief exchanges, most of the last two rounds were mostly wall-n-stall as they neutralized each other. The judges eventually ended up scoring it as a split draw, further showing how critical that point deduction was. It was an extremely close bout, but I have to give props to the Filipino judges, for looking past the fact that one guy's back is on the fence. We've seen too many occasions of wall-n-stall being rewarded even if the guy defending is the one landing the more blows.
140 lbs: Rolando Perez def. Tony Reyes by Unanimous Decision
Rolando Perez of Alliance MMA, who was coached by the Philippines' own Brandon Vera, dominated Tony Reyes en route to a unanimous decision victory. Perez, a Strikeforce and WEC veteran, was better both standing and on the ground as he constantly peppered Reyes with hard leg kicks and a steady diet of ground and pound. There was a quick scare for his team late on the fight though, as Reyes caught Perez backing up straight which dropped him. The Aliance MMA product quickly recovered, and he continued where he left off, dominating his opponent until the final bell.
150 lbs: Harris Sarmiento def. Alex Castro by Unanimous Decision
This was one of the more slow-paced bouts of the night, but Harris Sarmiento, who was born in the Philippines, and is based in Hawaii, still won a clear cut decision against Alex Castro. After the fight, he thanked the fans and said "I'm proud to be Filipino."
135 lbs: Josh Alvarez def. Rogelio Plomeda by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Round 1, 2:55
Plomeda is a Filipino former pro-boxer that came out of the famous ALA boxing gym, home to talented pugilists such as Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, Z Gorres, and others. He displayed those hands early in the fight as he landed a huge shot that dropped Alvarez. He swarmed his opponent, and when he was unable to finish the fight, he got put on his back, and that's where his greatest weakness was exposed -- the ground game. Alvarez easily passed his guard and quickly choked him out cold.
Check out the finish. This was moments after Plomeda failed to finish the fight:
155 lbs: Diego Garijo def. Tae Kyun Kim by Unanimous Decision
Diego Garijo, another Alliance MMA fighter being coached by Brandon Vera, was matched up against Korean Top Team's Tae Kyun Kim. Garijo started out throwing wild bombs that missed, but as the minutes progressed, the Alliance fighter got his timing down and started winning the stand up exchanges. He dominated the fight en route to a unanimous decision victory. A few hours ago, Brandon Vera said that Garijo broke his hand during the second round. Garijo still won decisively and made no mention of it that night.
135 lbs: Ricky Camp def. Carlos Tiongson by TKO (punches) - Round 2, 2:24
In the opening fight of the night, Filipino fighter, Carlos Tiongson of Submission Sport took on Ricky Camp of Guam, who was making his pro debut. It may be a bit of inexperience, it may also be the jitters, but for whatever reason, Tiongson at times, looked a bit awkward and out of place during the bout. He obviously has decent jiujitsu skills, but he wasn't able to properly weave in his striking, his clinch/cage work, into his overall MMA game. A bit more seasoning and shoring up from both of these relatively young guys, and they can surely maximize their potential. Check out highlights of their fight:
News, notes and other tidbits:
- Sarmiento who was born in the Philippines and is fighting out of Hawaii had a good night, but the other two Filipinos based in the country went 0-2 against their opponents from other nations.
- Brandon Vera's voice while coaching echoed throughout the arena as we saw an unusually silent Filipino crowd.
- It was very uncharacteristic that we had a mixed martial arts event with a crowd that was relatively silent for stretches during the night. There could be a bunch of reasons for this. It may be because the venue attracted a different type of crowd compared to what is commonly found in other MMA events in the country. It could also be the prices that made the event cater to a different type of audience. Or, maybe the the crowd just didn't really know who these fighters are. I think it's probably a mixture of all these factors, but either way, while they obviously did have their moments, the crowd's energy just didn't feel right at times.
- There were quite a few empty seats in the venue, and I think that the reasons could again, relate to those different factors mentioned above. Some casual MMA fans probably didn't want to pay for relatively more expensive tickets to watch a few fighters that they haven't heard off. Too bad though, cause it was still a pretty entertaining night.
- Again, props to the judges on the Dias vs Kim bout, who didn't unfairly reward a guy who is taking shots while failing to take his opponent down from the fence.
- The new Korean Top Team t-shirt has a design that looked a lot like that famous Korean Zombie shirt.
- Not a big deal, but it was very anticlimactic every time the ring announcer read the scorecards one by one even if it was a unanimous decision. Imagine -- "Judge 1 scores it, 30-27, Fighter A. Judge 2 scores it, 30-27 Fighter A... *Pause*... AND Judge 3 scores it, 30-27... FIGHTER A!"
- More nitpicking on my end, and this is probably not PXC's fault, and more of Resorts World's, but they kept on playing chill house music in between fights. Those could work in your normal casino set up, but that's not a good way to pump up the crowd.
- On the main event, I heard a guy shout towards Kevin Fitial - "Go Rampage!".
- It was a good night of fights, and lastly, be sure to keep an eye out for our exclusive photo gallery coming this week.