AS he returns to the cage for redemption, Ale Cali brings back the identity that made him one of the most entertaining fighters in Pacific X-Treme Combat as he collides with compatriot Ernesto Montilla Jr. in PXC 43 on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Known for his showboating antics, the 22-year-old pride of Davao turned serious last November when he defended his flyweight title for the second time. But the move seemed to backfire as he relinquished his belt to Louis Smolka of Hawaii and lost for only the second time in seven fights.
That’s why the 5-foot-5 dynamo vowed to summon his flashy attitude in the hope of regaining his winning ways in the main event of the 12th staging in the country of one of the top MMA promotions in the Asia-Pacific.
“Ibabalik ko (yung flashy attitude ko),” Cali said during the press launch on Wednesday, where he sat with PXC CEO EJ Calvo and the some of the other featured fighters in the nine-fight card.
“Wala akong pakialam kung anong sasabihin nila,” added the dethroned champion, whose flash was met with mixed reactions from fans. “Basta sa akin, laro lang; wala naman akong inaapakan na tao. Sa akin, show lang. Pinapakita ko lang talaga kung ano yung laro ko.”
Before his title defense against Smolka, Cali heeded the advice that being a showboat would leave him exhausted faster. But he learned it hardly mattered.
“Parehas lang naman. Sabi nila huwag daw ako masyado magalaw para hindi agad mapagod. Pero pag nag-steady ka naman, madali ka namaan tatamaan sa striking, so ganun din. Doble pa: pagod tsaka sakit.”
“Bahala na yung haters. Marami (akong naririnig na criticism), pero kung iisipin ko yun at magpapadala ako, talo ako.
“Papatunayan ko na lang na mali yung iniisip nila na hanggang yabang lang ako,” added Cali, a former national boxing team aspirant before turning pro for a year in 2009, when he fought an astounding six fights, including five wins.
The MMA convert and striking specialist has to be wary of Montilla, a fellow explosive fighter who is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Jinel Lausa also last November.
Cali and Montilla are just two of 15 Filipinos seeing action in the PXC 43, which is presented by Red Horse Beer and Sports5.
“What sets this event apart is that it is predominantly Filipino,” Sports5 manager Vitto Lazatin said.