Team Lakay tightened its stranglehold on Filipino MMA even further tonight when Crisanto Pitpitunge defeated URCC and PXC bantamweight champion Justin Cruz in Pasig City. He joins Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon and Roy Docyogen on the list of title holders at the Baguio based team.
Coach Mark Sangiao has done an amazing job of developing a team of fighters who are almost all either Baguio natives or students at the University of the Cordilleras there. While it cannot compete with a camp like Evolve MMA which has the resources to scour the globe to recruit the best fighters and trainers, Team Lakay has a proven track record of taking aspiring local mixed martial artists and making them the very best in the entire country.
At present the impressive honours roll looks like this:
Cruz was riding a four fight win streak going into this fight and his only loss in his last nine outings was at the hands of Japanese submission specialist Masakazu Imanari at Deep. This was his third fight against Team Lakay fighters, he suffered a decision loss to Belingon in 2008 but submitted Sangiao the following year in what proved to be the famous coach's final fight.
Pitpunge dealt with him much more ruthlessly, knocking the Guam native out with a straight hand in the opening round. It was his fourth consecutive win and the most impressive performance of his career. With both him and Belingon training together Team Lakay can now boast the two best bantamweights in the Philippines.
Sangiao still serves as a coach for the national Wushu team and many of Team Lakay's mixed martial artists continue to compete in this discipline and win medals at international competitions such as the SEA games. Pitpunge also comes from a Wushu background and his speciality is stand up, a point he proved empthatically by knocking out Cruz.
In other Filipino MMA news the longest running and most respected promotion in the country the URCC announced the date for its much anticipated URCC 21 card. It will be taking place on November 17th and as the promotion is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year the card is likely to be a little bit special.
Before that three URCC champions will be in action on August 31st when ONE FC: 'Destiny of Warriors' takes place at the 16,500 capacity Areneta Coliseum. Belingon, Folayang and Eric Kelly will all be on that card which is expected to attract the biggest audience in the history of Filipino MMA.