Pacific X-treme Combat is back on our shores for PXC 37, happening this Saturday, May 18 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The card looks promising with eight evenly matched fights. The main event features PXC Bantamweight Champion Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge defending his title against undefeated Japanese submission artist Michinori Tanaka. The main undercard bout is one-half of PXC's Featherweight Tournament, pitting Nate Thorell of Hawaii versus Jang Yong Kim of Korea. What can you expect from these two fights? Below is FHM’s breakdown of how all the (possibly bloody) action will unfold.
Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge (4-1) vs. Michinori Tanaka (7-0)
For the PXC Bantamweight Championship (135 pounds)
The main event is a classic match-up of striker versus grappler. The undefeated Tanaka earned five of his seven wins via submission. He has a fast wrestling style with quick takedowns and great transitions that gets him in position for a lock or choke. He’s also not afraid to trade strikes, but usually uses his heavy hands to get the fight to the mat.
Tanaka’s elite-level grappling skills and decent striking makes Pitpitunge, the champion, the prohibitive underdog in the fight. The Baguio City policeman’s lone loss came via submission, while only one of his five fights went the full route, a possible “weakness” a patient fighter like Tanaka (who doesn’t mind taking his time to get a crack at choking his opponent) will surely take advantage of.
Despite his inferior grabbling skills, Pitpitunge and his camp are confident that he won’t fall prey to the Japanese. “Mas mahaba ang paghahanda namin. Dinagdagan pa namin ang oras ng training niya,” says Mark Sangiao, head coach of Team Lakay MMA. “Specialist masyado yung kalaban so dinagdagan pa namin ang defense niya sa takedown and sa ground.” Pipitunge’s heavy hands are also going to make the Japanese wary of standing up with the champ, adds the Pinoy’s coach. Just ask former PXC Bantamweight champ Justin “The Shocker” Cruz…
Now, if you’re thinking that Pitpitunge might have home court advantage, know that Tanaka isn’t new to the country, having fought here last year at PXC 34. Pitpitunge meanwhile admits that fighting here gets him jittery, “Medyo may pressure pag ang laban sa harap ng ating mga kababayan,” shares the champ. “Pero ready ako. Five rounds itong fight na ito, pero depende po sa takbo ng laban kung anong round matatapos. Gagawin ko po ang lahat para maging interesting yung laro.”
FHM’s Prediction: It will all boil down to whoever imposes their game plan early, and often. Tanaka is used to grinding out wins and the longer the fight goes, the more it plays to his strengths. Pitpitunge’s last fight was 10 months ago and ring rust may be a factor. But these things aside, we see Pitpitunge being wary of Tanaka’s attempts to grapple from the onset. He’ll weather the early storm to land his heavy punches for a late first round KO.