ALE Cali fell prey to Louis Smolka’s superior ground skills as he surrendered the Pacific X-Treme Combat flyweight belt to the Hawaiian in PXC 41 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Saturday night.
Amid chants of “Ale! Ale!,” the 22-year-old pride of Davao refused to tap out and escaped every submission attempt by Smolka, but instead was caught in a flurry of ground-and-pound attacks as he lost via referee stoppage with less than two minutes gone in the second round.
“I knew the whole time that every time he got on his feet, they will be screaming, but I just kept on trying,” said Smolka, who remained unbeaten in five bouts. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
The 5-foot-9 Smolka also took advantage of his four-inch height advantage over the smaller Filipino, who failed to dominate the game with his striking strength.
“Sorry talaga mga kababayan ko,” Cali addressed the pro-Filipino crowd shortly after the loss, only his second in seven fights. “Makikita niyo, babalik ako, babangon tayo.”
Gina Iniong proved to be the saving grace for the Filipinos as she knocked out Nathalie Heidel of France in the first female MMA fight in the country.
The Baguio-born Iniong caught her French foe right in the first round with a solid right straight, before finishing her off with her ground-and-pound forays that drew the loudest cheers from the gallery.
Fellow Team Lakay member Harold Banario also emerged victorious, scoring a unanimous decision win over compatriot Joseph Mercado.
Two more Lakay stablemates, however, negated their teammates’ efforts as Crisanto Pitpitunge bowed to Korean Han Bin Park, who executed a rear-naked choke in the third round.
Troy Bantiag was also forced to submit to American Johnny Pecyna from an arm triangle in round one.
Not even having a former Olympic silver medalist on his side could prevent Jinel Lausa from losing to fellow Pinoy Ernesto Montilla Jr.
Lausa, who had Mansueto `Onyok’ Velasco on his corner, lost to Montilla, who leaned on his takedowns to score the unanimous decision win.
Americna Shane Alvarez was another thorn for the Filipinos as he forced Kid Orais to tap out with a kimura in the very first round of the first fight of the night.