Ernesto Montilla upsets Cali by submission at PXC 43

Nissi Icasiano
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Ernesto Montilla Jr. scored an upset over former flyweight champion Ale Cali in the main event of PXC 43

POP GOES THE SHOULDER. Ernesto Montilla Jr. (R) locks in an arm bar on former PXC flyweight champ Ale Cali (L) at PXC 43. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Ernesto Montilla Jr. scored an upset over former flyweight champion Ale Cali in the main event of PXC 43 on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The 5-foot-3 native of San Pedro, Laguna had the quickest turnout of the night as he locked a slick armbar submission to force the highly-favorite Cali to wave the white flag at 1:59 of the first round.

“I knew I had him when I heard his shoulder popped. Then I gripped harder to get the tapout,” Montilla said after the fight.

Known as an explosive stand-up striker, Montilla admitted that the game plan was to expose Cali’s weakness on the ground despite the latter’s forewarning that he put more emphasis on grappling in his training camp.

“The plan was to put him down to the ground and give him a difficult time. I believe Ale got surprised by our game plan tonight,” he shared.

With the decisive victory over Cali, Montilla improves his professional record to 4-2 and claims his second win by submission.

PXC chief EJ Calvo believes that Montilla’s surprising win will likely put him in the mix for the 125-pound title picture.

The fight card was originally penciled to stage a flyweight title tilt between Roldan Sangcha’an and Rambaa Somdet, but the championship clash was scrapped when Somdet injured his back during training.

“Ernesto beat a former champion and did it in an impressive fashion. Definitely, he is in consideration to fight for the belt and have a rematch with Roldan in the future. Roldan remains as a contender for the title, so it’s possible the both men will meet again,” Calvo stated.

One of those two losses in Montilla’s PXC run was against Sangcha’an. The undefeated Team Lakay standout strangled him with a second-round rear-naked choke at PXC 39 last September.

“I really want to fight for the belt and cement my status as the best flyweight out there. It’s fine with me if have to face Roldan Sangcha’an again just to become the PXC champion,” Montilla stressed.

Ernesto Montilla Jr. celebrates the victory that puts him back in the flyweight title picture. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

On the other hand, Cali receives his second-straight setback and drops his win-loss slate to 5-3.

Prior to his meeting with Montilla, he dropped the PXC flyweight strap to now-UFC fighter Louis Smolka, who punished him with ground-and-pound in the headliner of PXC 41 this past November.

According to his team, Montilla’s armbar triggered the recurring shoulder injury of Cali, which put him out of action on numerous occasions before.

“His shoulder injury was damaged by Montilla in this fight. The opponent was aware of his injury. As far as I see it, Ale has to sit on the sidelines again because of this unfortunate incident,” one of his cornermen said.

Gina Iniong tops Mei Yamaguchi by split decision

Gina Iniong had her hand raised in victory again as she outpointed Mei Yamaguchi by split decision in the co-main event of PXC 43.

Riding high on spectacular knockout finish of Nathalie Heidel in her PXC debut this past November, Iniong drew the largest loudest cheers from the partisan crowd as she stalked and battered Yamaguchi with her right hand in the first round while defending takedowns attempts from the 31-year-old Japanese.

However, Yamaguchi was able to weather the storm as she locked a deep armbar on Iniong with a minute left in the opening frame.

Iniong did not give into the excruciating pain and shrugged off the submission hold by slamming Yamaguchi’s back twice on the mat.

In the second stanza, Team Lakay’s first female PXC fighter worked on inside and outside leg trips to mollify the surging Yamaguchi, who is known for her shoot-and-slug style of fighting.

As the women’s bantamweight bout reached the third round, Iniong continued the onslaught by tagging her opponent with wild punches in the stand-up department.

While Yamaguchi was trying to get a standing rear-naked choke, Iniong dragged her experienced foe to the ground once more to pepper her with shorts strikes.

Unfortunately, it took toll against Iniong as Yamaguchi reversed the position to be on top of the hard-hitting Filipina.

Yamaguchi pacified Iniong on the floor by dropping series of right hand shots to the body while trying to move into side control.

But Iniong relied on her full guard to prevent Yamaguchi from standing up or moving away until the final bell.

On the three scorecards, two judges saw it in favor of Iniong with the outputs of 29-28 and 30-27, while the other cageside official gave Yamaguchi 29-28.

“It was close, but I fought through. She had me in dangerous situations, but I pushed myself to get the victory,” Iniong admitted in her post-fight interview.

With the impressive triumph over Yamaguchi, Iniong improves her professional record to 3-1 and has won back-to-back contests inside Pacific Xtreme Combat’s Terror Dome.

On the other hand, Yamaguchi drops her win-loss-draw card to 11-7-1 and has not tasted success yet in the Guam-based promotion since her first PXC appearance last October.

Ranillo, Dy shine on PXC 43 undercard

Glenn Ranillo and Rolando Gabriel Dy pulled off impressive victories in their respective undercard bouts.

Ranillo won his third-straight fight inside Pacific Xtreme Combat’s Terror Dome when he stopped Hawaiian prospect Reno Remigio by way of knockout in the first round.

The 5-foot-10 standout of Team Insider Boxing Gym managed to offset Remigio’s reach-advantage by landing a hard right hand counter that sent his feeble opponent crashing down to the mat at the 1:52 mark of the opening frame.

As he improves his professional record to 4-2, Ranillo did not hesitate to demand for a crack at the vacant PXC lightweight title.

“Mr. EJ Calvo (PXC chief executive officer), I want a title shot. The belt is what I’m here for,” Ranillo stated in his post-fight interview.

The throne of the 155-pound weight class is currently unoccupied as Harris Sarmiento left the Guam-based promotion last December to join ONE Fighting Championship.

On the other hand, Dy schooled Han Bin Park in his bantamweight debut to claim the judges’ unanimous decision of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

The son of former world boxing champion Rolando “The Bad Boy from Dadiangas” Navarette blended his striking and grappling prowess that quickly exhausted his South Korean opponent.

Dy secured takedowns early in the marquee match-up to pacify Park’s rowdy theatrics that notably gave him the come-from-behind upset against former PXC bantamweight champion Crisanto Pitipitunge this past November.

“The Incredible” worked with short punches from the clinch and mauled him on the ground that opened a big cut on Park’s left ear.

“I knew I could finish him in the third round, but I was so tired. I had to lose ten kilos in 24 hours for this fight, but I am so happy that I was able to get my hand raised at the end,” Dy admitted.

According to Calvo, Dy’s stellar first outing as a 135-pound competitor can very well position him into the title picture, more so when Michinori Tanaka rendered the belt up for grabs as he signed a multi-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in February.

“Rolando has polished his craft every time he prepares for a fight. He stepped it up this time, The belt in the bantamweight division is now vacant, and Rolando’s win over Han Bin Park sets a tone for the future of the weight class,” the head honcho revealed.

In other matches, Dean Bermudez threw a head kick to shut the sense out of Kid Orais in the second round.

Jinel Lausa outclassed 18-year-old Venson Delopere with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 counts, while Joseph Mercado edged out Domnel Eduave by undivided vote of 30-27 across the cageside officials’ scorecards.

Meanwhile, Arex Montalban submitted Lorde Rey Yamit with a first-round armbar in a featherweight scrap. –

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