HARRIS ‘The Hitman’ Sarmiento was so eager to get back in the Pacific X-Treme Combat cage after his disappointing first-round loss to Mark Striegl last November that he expressed his readiness to PXC chief executive officer EJ Calvo to fight again that same night.
That is, so long as the match was against a slugger and not a submission specialist like Striegl, whose armlock with less than three minutes after the opening bell forced the 29-year-old Sarmiento to tap out in what turned out to be the quickest fight of the night.
“I hate to bring up last November but the fight ended how it did,” Calvo recalled. “Harris, obviously frustrated, approached my family and was adamant saying, ‘I want to stand and bang with somebody.’”
Talking with his associates just a few minutes after PXC 34 wrapped up, Calvo readily granted Sarmiento’s wish, picking Isaiah Ordiz, who fought and defeated Tristan Arenal via split decision the same night.
“It didn’t take us very long to sit down and say who’s gonna give us a very nice, entertaining MMA standing competition,” Calvo said. “And we were very impressed with Isaiah, his reach, his boxing ability, but also his takedown defense.”
Three months later, whether the PXC promoter made the right decision or not will be known as Sarmiento moves back to his natural weight to defend his lightweight title against Ordiz on Saturday in PXC 35 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The veteran Filipino-American champion hopes to get his 36th win as he marks his 60th professional bout against the San Pedro, Laguna-born challenger who is undefeated in two fights.
The main event, to be preceded by the undercard bouts that start at 7 p.m., is expected to be an explosive stand-up game, although Calvo didn’t discount the possibility of the fight going to the ground.
“The fight can go anywhere,” Calvo said. “Harris and Isaiah have also shown that they can defend the takedown so they’re talking about standing and banging.”
“But who knows, they may be throwing everyone off and take it to the ground.”