Beaming with pride, Harris “The Hitman” Sarmiento hoisted his belt high enough for everyone in the room to see.
But a fast-rising challenger in Isaiah “Ice” Ordiz is threatening to strip it away.
Sarmiento stakes his Pacific Xtreme Combat lightweight title against Ordiz tomorrow in PXC35 at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“I came here to defend my title and win,” said Sarmiento, who will figure in his 60th professional mixed martial arts fight. “I’m hungry and I just want to go out there and fight.”
Sarmiento’s hunger for another trip in the cage is understandable.
The Ilocos Norte-born brawler, who was raised in the United States, lost a non-title outing to ground specialist Mark Streigl by first-round submission three months ago.
A similar ending is not expected this time when the 29-year-old Sarmiento faces Ordiz, undefeated in two fights last year, as both prefer punishing the enemy standing up. The bout will be aired over AKTV on IBC 13 tomorrow at 9 p.m.
“My goal is to give Harris a good fight. We practically have the same fighting style,” said Ordiz, who beat Filipino-American Tristan Arenal by split decision in November.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter, a very durable opponent with power in both hands. I’ve prepared well by working on my cardio and improving my strength,” added the challenger from San Pedro, Laguna.
In the undercard, flyweight Louis Smolka of Hawaii takes on California’s Alvin Cacdac while Japan’s Chuji Kato clashes with Egon Racs of Legacy Gym in another lightweight bout.