VETERAN Justin “The Shocker” Cruz of Guam is fancied to win but local boy Crisanto Pitpitunge has vowed to be pull off a shocker when they face off for the bantamweight title in Pacific Xtreme Combat 31 on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
Cruz has won his last four bouts, all via unanimous decision, but three of those were in 2010. The bantamweight fighter has not fought since beating fellow Guamanian Trevin Jones in PXC 27 last October.
The 26-year-old Cruz admitted he has been impressed with the array of styles from Filipino fighters he has seen, but noted that some of the better ones throw a lot of hard punches and can be unconventional but dangerous when fighting on the ground.
“Crisanto has won all three of his fights in PXC and he is truly deserving of the title bout,” said PXC chief executive officer EJ Calvo. “This one (PXC 31) is gonna be the biggest we’ve had so far (in the Philippines).”
Although he has fought in only four MMA bouts, Pitpitunge said he has steadily improved his repertoire of moves after starting out as a wushu artist. He has won three straight since losing in his debut, the most recent a unanimous decision over Victor Galdon in PXC 29 in February.
Now the 5-foot-6 fighter out of Baguio feels he is ready for the 135-lb crown.
“Sa wushu ako nagsimula pero ini-improve rin natin yung sarili natin, at pinaghandaan naming mabuti itong laban na ito,” said Pitpitunge, who won in PXC 26 when Alex Castro retired injured before the second round, and again in PXC 29 via submission with a barrage of punches over Jerry Cimeni.
Also in the undercard is another Philippines vs Guam bout and two matches pitting Filipinos against Americans.
Local boy Guzman Pia-yas faces off with Jones; Californian Tristan Arenal takes on Richie Redman and Alvin Cacdac, also from California, battles Rex Wa-o of La Trinidad.
Other fights are all-Filipino, with Rolando Gabriel Dy battling Alde Alonzo de Zosa, Joseph Mercado taking on Troy Bantiag, Eugene Toquero squaring off with Victor Torre, Glenn Ranillo facing Macky Favis and Jerry Legaspi battling Arex Montalban.