HE dresses up like a rapper, yet he hardly opens his mouth.
That's because Ernesto Montilla Jr. lets his mixed martial arts skills do the talking, and he showed it on Saturday night when he stunned Filipino compatriot Ale Cali in Pacific X-Treme Combat 43 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
In the quickest victory of the night, the pride of San Pedro, Laguna forced his fancied opponent to submit with an armbar right in the first round of the main event of the 12th staging in the Philippines of one of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA outfits.
“Nung na-lock ko siya, alam ko na tapos na kasi narmadaman ko na pumutok ‘yung shoulder niya,” said the soft-spoken Montilla, who was laconic with his words in the run-up toward the biggest fight of his life.
Thus, Montilla, who sported an oversized hoodie and wore his baseball cap sideways before the fight, won for the fourth time in six fights and moved a step closer to a shot at the vacant flyweight throne.
On the other hand, it was the second successive loss for Davao native Cali, whose weakness at the ground was once again exposed after he also succumbed to a ground-and-pound punishment last year from eventual Ultimate Fighting Championship signee Louis Smolka.
“Whenever he was caught in a lock in the past, Cali was always slippery because he was already wet so he would eventually get away and finish the fight on top,” PXC CEO EJ Calvo said. “But he was still dry this time, so he couldn’t get out.”
As promised, Cali brought back his flashy antics as he danced his way into the ring when his name was announced. Despite doubling his preparation on the ground — wrestling and jiu jitsu, specifically, Cali got caught by Montilla, an explosive striker who took the fight to the ground to surprise his foe.
The swift ending capped off another MMA event inside the packed venue where the lights shone bright and the atmosphere was electric in contrast to the outside where the lights were turned off for a while for Earth Hour.
In another convincing finish, Glenn Ranillo knocked out Reno Remigio of Hawaii with a straight right, also early in the first round of their lightweight bout.
Drawing the loudest cheers from the partisan crowd, Gina Iniong once again made the Filipino women proud as she scored a split decision win over Japan’s Mei Yamaguchi to notch her second straight victory in the atomweight class.
In the other Filipino-foreigner bout, Rolando Dy, son of former boxing champion Rolando Navarette, prevailed against Han Bin Park of Korea via unanimous decision in the bantamweight division.
In the all-Filipino bouts, Dean Bermudez, a Manny Pacquiao look-alike, knocked out Kid Orais, Arex Montalban locked an overweight Lorde Yamit into submission, Jenel Lausa defeated Venson Delopere via unanimous decision, Roy Doliguez escaped Jerome Wanawan with a split decision, and Joseph Mercado came out a unanimous-decision winner over Dominiel Eduave.