PROMISING Filipino mixed martial arts amateurs get a chance to move a step closer to the pros in the maiden Pacific X-Treme Combat “Laban MMA” card on Saturday at the Lipa City Youth and Cultural Center in Batangas.
Eager to find diamonds in the rough, the PXC, Asia-Pacific's top MMA outfit, is set to launch its provincial development league as a form of a tryout for aspirants.
“This is the logical direction we need to go. It’s a no-brainer to develop talent in the Philippines,” PXC fighter operations director Rob San Diego said on Wednesday in the press launch of the event. “Hopefully this catapults local MMA properly.”
Mike Bunag, who takes on Arnel Lomibao in the bantamweight division in one of the featured bouts, expressed delight over the opportunity to show his wares.
“This is really a stepping stone for us,” the 29-year-old MMA trainer at Fist Gym told Spin.ph.
A dentistry student at Fatima University in Valenzuela and part-time web designer, he hopes a victory could lead to a pro contract that could sustain his living.
The PXC plans to make this tournament a monthly event, with the next venues in Baguio, Bacolod, Boracay, Cebu, and Davao.
“It’s more expensive to fly fighters from provinces to the metro, so why not do events in the provinces?” San Diego said.
The competition will use semi-professional rules, with fighters disallowed to use elbows to the face to avoid cuts; and thicker gloves. The fights are also shorter: three three-minute rounds, unlike regular PXC events, which feature five three-minute rounds.
“This is to prepare them for the big show,” San Diego said.
The main event of the inaugural 11-fight card pits Arvin Chan and Jhay Tongson in a rematch in the lightweight class.