THE recent departure of Pacific X-Treme Combat flyweight champion Louis Smolka has opened the door for Ale Cali to reclaim the belt faster than he imagined.
Cali, the pride of Davao, was supposed to embark on a long road to redemption after he relinquished his belt to Smolka last year.
But the throne has since been left vacant after the Hawaiian champion moved up to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest stage of mixed martial arts following his win over Cali last November.
And PXC CEO EJ Calvo expressed the possibility of making the main event of PXC 43 on Saturday night as a virtual title eliminator for the championship bout.
Cali now collides with Ernesto Montilla Jr. of San Pedro Laguna in the main event of the 12th staging in the Philippines of one of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA promotions.
“This has the makings of (an eliminator for) the next title fight,” Calvo said. “This matchup is between two of the biggest stars in the 125-pound class.”
“We’ll see how this fight goes,” the boss of the Guam-based outfit added.
The 22-year-old Cali lost his belt to Smolka via referee stoppage in PXC 41, where Montilla scored a unanimous-decision victory over Jenel Lausa.
“I know Ale wants that belt back and Ernesto has shown the ability he can beat anybody and it’s just a matter of getting better,” Calvo said.
Aside from the two explosive headliners, 13 other Filipinos see action, including female fighter Gina Iniong, the country’s first-ever female Filipino MMA fighter who will take on Mei Yamaguchi of Japan in atomweight division.
Rolando Dy, son of Filipino boxing champion Rolando Navarette, squares off against Korea’s Han Bin Park at bantamweight, while Glen Ranillo faces Hawaiian Reno Remigio.
The rest of nine-fight card are all-Filipino with Jerome Wanawan taking on Roy Doliguez at strawweight, Lausa meeting Venson Delopere (flyweight), Kid Orais locking horns against Dean Bermudez (flyweight), Lorde Yamit vs Arex Montalban (featherweight), and Dominiel Eduave vs Joseph Mercado (bantamweight).
All the fighters made weight during the official weigh-in ceremony on Friday at Bar 360 in Resorts World.
The event, presented by Red Horse Beer and Sports5, starts at 7 p.m.
For those who can’t watch at the venue, catch the live online streaming for free at ppv.pxc.com.ph, while TV5 will broadcast the event on Sunday at 3 p.m.