MANILA, Philippines – Filipino fighter Jenel Lausa might be leaving Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but he will forever be grateful for the international exposure that the Guam-based mixed martial arts (MMA) organization has given him.
Lausa, the current PXC flyweight titleholder, has inked a 20-month exclusive deal with the UFC that will guarantee him 4 fights under the promotion’s banner. (READ: Jenel Lausa ends boxing career to focus on UFC)
The 28-year-old native of Concepcion, Iloilo, is set to make his UFC debut against Chinese combatant Yao Zhikui in a 3-round flyweight bout on the undercard of UFC Fight Night Manila 2, which takes place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on October 15.
As Lausa bids his heartfelt farewell to PXC, he cannot help but to feel sentimental about his departure.
“I am so happy, but at the same time, I can feel a little bit of sadness. I am what I am today because of PXC. They gave me the exposure that I needed. I am so thankful for that,” he told Rappler.
PXC took a gamble in 2013 by recruiting an unpolished talent like Lausa, who only had a 1-1 win-loss slate at that time.
Lausa was successful in his first assignment as a PXC competitor by scoring a third-round technical knockout victory over Igorot warrior Adam Cacay in September 2013.
Although he yielded to Ernesto Montilla Jr two months after stopping Cacay, Lausa bounced back by picking up a unanimous decision win over Venson Delopere in March 2014, before submitting Dean Bermudez with a first-round rear-naked choke in November of the same year.
Lausa solidified his status as the No. 1 contender for the PXC flyweight title by avenging his decision loss to Montilla as he knocked out his rival with a left hook in the last second of the first round.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Lausa captured the vacant PXC flyweight championship by edging out Team Lakay’s Crisanto Pitpitunge via split decision in January and became the fourth homegrown Filipino fighter to win a world title in the sport of MMA.
“With the 3 years that I spent in PXC, I am so happy. I don’t how I can repay them. I won’t let them down in the UFC,” he said about the MMA company.
PXC has hosted 16 of its last 31 events in the country since its first venture on Philippine shores in June 2011.
In addition, PXC has produced numerous local MMA heroes such as Lausa, Pitpitunge, Mark Striegl, Rolando Gabriel Dy, Glen Ranillo and the late Ale Cali.
Aside from generating household Pinoy contenders, PXC also served as the footstool for several MMA fighters to be noticed by the UFC, including Team Lakay’s Roldan Sangcha-an, Jon Tuck, Hyun Gyu Lim, Dustin Kimura, Russell Doane, Louis Smolka and Michinori Tanaka.
Even if there were many exultant memories that he had in PXC, Lausa realized the need to leave his comfort zone to prove his worth as a world-class prizefighter.
“It’s difficult to say goodbye, but in order to be the best in this sport, you have to leave your comfort zone. There is a lot of competition out there. And of course, I want to prove my worth as a fighter,” he shared.
Being part of the UFC roster is Lausa’s ultimate dream as an MMA fighter, but he clarified that PXC will always occupy a special place in his heart.
“There are a lot of people that helped me along the way. From the Calvo family (PXC owners) to [PXC matchmaker] Robert San Diego, I am forever indebted to them for giving me a shot. PXC molded me into what I am today. Now, it’s time to bring my A-game on a bigger stage,” he stated. – Rappler.com