THEY are both known for their ground game, but Mark Striegl and Jang Yong Kim could surprise everyone and mix it up when they collide for the vacant Pacific X-Treme Combat featherweight championship belt on Saturday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
Striegl’s immaculate record speaks for itself. The Filipino-American fighter is unbeaten in 12 bouts, with all but two of those victories coming via submission.
For his part, the Korean Jang totes a 6-5-1 win-loss-draw card and two of his last three wins have come from submission, the last a kimura that forced Nate Thorell to tap out with over a minute left in the first round of their bout in PXC 37.
PXC CEO EJ Calvo, though, said expect the unexpected in the 145-pound bout and main event of PXC 39 that serves as the 10th staging of one of Asia-Pacific’s premier mixed martial arts promotions in the country.
“Both fighters are world-class wrestlers. I haven’t seen these two guys being in a bad situation on the ground.”
“But in MMA, anything can happen. They may end up slugging it out,” Calvo said.
Striegl, the pride of Baguio and considered as the country’s best local bet to make the jump to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will not limit himself by sticking to his strengths.
“I’ll take whatever opening Jang gives me and if a knockout’s there, I’ll take it.”
The only thing that Striegl will maintain is his aggression.
“I’m not a counter attacker. I’m not passive,” said the 25-year-old Striegl, who’s four years younger than his Korean opponent.
If the fight does go to the ground, Jang is prepared, saying he worked on “everything” from grappling, wrestling, and striking, but also baring that he focused more on his submission defense.
“He’s perfect. He’s ready,” said Tae Kyun “TK” Kim, Jang’s interpreter and sparring partner, who’s a southpaw like Striegl.
Seven other must-see fights are in store in the event, presented by Sports5 and San Mig Strong Ice, and supported by Beer Below Zero, FHM Magazine, FHM.com.ph, Real Sports, Fitness First, Healthway Agility Philippines, Loqal, and Spin.ph.
Four all-Filipino bouts are featured, with Isaiah Ordiz facing Glen Ranillo in the lightweight division, Ernesto Montilla Jr. taking on Roldan Sangcha-an in a bantamweight bout, Harold Banario tangling with Rolan Romero at flyweight, and Jinel Lausa squaring off against Adam Cacay in another bantamweight bout.
Two other Pinoys in Rolando Dy and Jessie Rafols see action, taking on Kyle Reyes of Guam and US-born Louis Smolka, respectively.
An all-foreigner bout between Zebaztian Kadestam of Sweden and Ross Ebanez of Hawaii completes the event’s fight card.