ALE Cali hopes to lean on his stand-up game and avoid a trap that has been a bane to fellow Filipino mixed martial artists when he stakes his Pacific X-Treme Combat flyweight belt against Louis Smolka on Saturday in PXC 41 at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.
Well aware of his opponent’s tendency to take the fight to the ground and finish it there, the 22-year-old pride of Davao is sticking to his striking strength in trying to defend his title for the second straight time.
“Pag na-maintain ko lang sa taas, alam mo na mangyayari,” assured the Filipino, who boasts a 5-1 win-loss card, with all but one of his victories coming via knockout.
“Pero bilis pa rin dapat sa depensa, kasi si Louis magaling sa ground,” added the 5-foot-5 Cali, who has a four-inch height disadvantage against Smolka, the Hawaiian fighter who carries an immaculate 4-0 professional slate, with his wins all by way of submission.
Rust issue could also be a concern for Cali.
The champion last fought more than a year ago in November 2012 when he forced comebacking compatriot Erwin Tagle into retirement.
The Davaoeño explained it took him that long to return as he was recovering from a shoulder injury.
Bent on keeping his unblemished record intact, Smolka is cautious of the showboating Cali’s unorthodox, unpredictable striking style.
“I’m not going to be surprised of his antics and I’ll be looking for the finish.”
“Everyone’s gonna enjoy the clash of styles,” PXC CEO EJ Calvo said. “That’s the beauty of MMA,”
The Cali-Smolka bout is the main event of the 10th staging of one of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA promotions in the country, with six other anticipated fights on tap.
Eight other Filipino fighters see action, including atomweight Gina Iniong, who will take on Nathalie Heidel of France in the first female MMA fight in the country.
Filipinos Crisanto Pitpitunge, Troy Bantiag, and Kid Orias battle Korean Han Bin Park, and two Americans in Johnny Pecyna and Shane Alvarez, respectively.
Two all-Filipino bouts are featured with Jinel Lausa facing Ernesto Montilla Jr. and Joseph Mercado squaring off against Harold Banario.
Two Filipinos in Mark Striegl and Frank Camacho had their respective fights cancelled, with Striegl’s opponent, Ev Ting, failing to make weight by going seven pounds over the 146-pound limit, and Camacho also flunking his weigh-in, leaving Korean foe Tae Hyun Bang undone.
Calvo, though, assured every other fight in what is the final card of PXC for 2013 is a must-see.
“This is the grand finale of the PXC for the year,” Calvo said.