MANILA, Philippines – If Crisanto Pitpitunge wins at Pacific Xtreme Combat’s first live event this year on Saturday, January 16, he will not only become a world champion again but will also go down on record as the first Filipino to win world titles in two different weight classes.
Pitpitunge has the rare chance at enshrining himself as a two-division titleholder as he faces Jenel Lausa for the vacant flyweight belt in the main event of PXC 51, which takes place at Solaire Resort and Casino’s Grand Ballroom in Parañaque City.
The 26-year-old native of Kapangan, Benguet had a career-defining moment in July 2012 when he knocked out Justin “The Shocker” Cruz with a solid counter right in the first round to capture the PXC bantamweight strap.
However, his reign as the 135-pound kingpin was short-lived as he dropped the bantamweight title to Michinori Tanaka in May 2013.
After suffering two-straight disappointing defeats at the hands of Tanaka and Han Bin Park in 2013, the 5-foot-6 Team Lakay representative opted to move down to flyweight, which has a weight limit of 125 pounds.
In his initial flyweight appearance, Pitpitunge put the shimmer back in his mixed martial arts career as he pummeled Josh Duenas in 3 rounds and had the clear advantage in the stand-up department from bell to bell, picking up the judges’ undivided vote of 30-27 marks across the panel.
Pitpitunge solidified his status as the No. 1 contender for the flyweight championship when he earned a split decision triumph over Rambaa Somdet in November 2014.
Although he earned the right to challenge then-champion Alvin Cacdac, Pitpitunge was barred from taking home the silver-plated strap as he did not meet the allowable weight limit.
To compound the misery, Cacdac likewise missed weight, compelling the promotion to strip the belt of the Filipino-American stalwart and rendering the PXC flyweight title vacant.
The aforementioned match-up still pushed through as a non-title contest, where Pitpitunge shut the lights off on Cacdac in the first round with a well-timed overhand right and a follow-up right hook to the temple.
“There’s no room for mistakes this time around,” Pitpitunge told Rappler about making weight in his title tilt against Lausa.
Since the stakes are high in the scheduled 5-round bout versus Lausa, Pitpitunge is bent on capitalizing the opportunity of joining the likes of Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Dan Henderson, Urijah Faber and Bibiano Fernandes, who have won belts in different divisions.
“Actually, there is no pressure coming into this fight. The only pressure is my eagerness to win,” he stated.
Despite his stellar run as a flyweight and championship experience, Pitpitunge clarified that he is no way belittling Lausa, a 27-year-old stalwart of Concepcion, Iloilo who is currently riding high on a 3-fight winning streak.
“He is a young fighter with a lot of talent and heart. My game plan in this fight is to counter his game plan. Well, that depends on where the fight will go. This is MMA. We should be well-rounded in all aspects,” he said of Lausa, who knocked out Ernesto Montilla Jr. with a left hook in June 2015 to receive a crack at the available PXC flyweight belt. – Rappler.com