MIXED martial arts spectators and fans flocked to the University of Guam Field House Saturday night to witness the action in Pacific X-treme Combat 27. A stacked fight card featured seven professional fights that included the return of Ryan “Biggs” Bigler as well as two championship matches for the 135lb and 145lb PXC belts.
Making his return to the PXC cage, Bigler squared off against Saipan Trench Tech’s Keli “Rukiz” Manglona in the ninth fight of the night.
With the local crowd behind his back, Bigler immediately got things going by pressing against his opponent. Less than two minutes into the round, Bigler was able to get Manglona to the ground and went straight to work. As Manglona looked to reverse things and try to gain the edge, Bigler managed to mount his opponent from the back side and slipped in a choke. Manglona attempted to roll Bigler over; however, he paid dearly as Bigler’s arms sunk in deeper, forcing his opponent to tap in the first round.
135lb title bout
In the first title fight of the night, Underworld X-treme/Guahan Top Team’s Trevin Jones took on the defending 135lb champion Justin “The Shocker” Cruz. After going through five intense rounds, a winner was decided through the judges’ scorecards. To the dismay of a majority of the crowd in attendance, Cruz was awarded the win to retain his championship belt.
At the sound of the bell in the first round, Jones came storming out, working Cruz with several knees and punches. Despite some good shots by the defending champion, it was Jones who kept Cruz backing away and circling around the cage. Much would remain the same in the second and third rounds as the champion continuously looked for ways to get around the quickness and aggressiveness of Jones. It wasn’t until late in the third round when Cruz got his opponent onto the ground. However, the bell to end the round would sound before anything effective was applied.
Later in the fifth round, Cruz and Jones would start out waiting patiently, looking for the perfect opportunity to attack. Midway through, Cruz would have Jones on his back again. However, a very resilient Jones worked his way out and was soon back on his feet. With 10 seconds left in the round, both fighters went at it with flurries and punches, trying to gain the upper edge.
145lb title bout
In a highly anticipated match for the vacant 145lb PXC title, Harris Sarmiento and “The Juggernaut” Baby Joe Taimanglo took the match to the limits and went the full five rounds before a champion was crowned. Both fighters came out looking to gain the upper edge in their technical and strategic plan. For most of the match, Taimanglo looked to be in control as he pressed Sarmiento against the cage while applying foot stops and knees to the legs.
Sarmiento came out in the third round and dealt Taimanglo some connecting right hand punches. However, a focused Taimanglo went back to pressing his opponent against the cage. For the remainder of the round and most of the final rounds, things seemed the same as fans in the crowd began to boo the action. At the end of the fifth round, everyone in attendance awaited the judges’ decision. When the announcement was made, Taimanglo was crowned the new 145lb PXC champion.