By: King Eddie
PXC 35 didn't prove anything to the Hawaii MMA fans. . . it reiterated something. The statement made by Harris Sarmiento and Louis Smolka solidified that Hawaii fighters of all experience levels are in the mix, anywhere they fight. Harris, the seasoned veteran, taking on the new generation. And Louis Smolka, the up and coming prospect, taking on the established finisher. In both categories, Hawaii fighters proved top of the class.
Let's begin with the obvious. Harris Sarmiento had a difficult task ahead of him. It's never easy to regroup after a loss and battle the mental aspects of the game leading into a new fight. Especially when that fight is a title bout. But as he always does, Sarmiento took the worry out of the equation. He put a target in front of himself, and he hit the bullseye in the first round.
As a young rising star, Isaiah "Ice" Ordiz felt that the momentum was in his favor. He came into this lightweight title match against Harris Sarmiento thinking that Harris was the one with something to prove. But he couldn't have been more wrong. Anything that needs proving, Harris has done it many times over. All he needs from fight to fight, is to win. Ordiz on the other hand had to prove critics wrong. He had to prove to himself that he was worthy of the honor of fighting for the title. But Sarmiento played spoiler in the plans and ended the fight almost effortlessly in the first round.
After coming off of a loss in a lower weight class, to a very challenging opponent, Sarmiento decided to make a statement in his own stomping grounds of 155 lbs. When the fight began, little feeling out was needed. Sarmiento rushed with a flurry, and took the fight to the mat. The double leg takedown presented itself as a gift, and Harris graviously accepted. From that moment forward, Ordiz was living a nightmare. Sarmiento's fists were like ferocious beasts, feeding on the body of his downed opponent. Delightfully mixing in punches and elbows to the face, "The Hitman" kept his opponent thoroughly confused and in pain. And as Ordiz felt his could wiggle some space between himself and the onslaught, Sarmiento used tha opportunity to lock in a Kimura. And as the seconds licked away towards the end of the first round, the break in action would never come. Sarmiento handily vanquished "Ice" with a cold disposition within the opening 5 minutes in order to retain his title, and bring the a rush of pride to the islands of Hawaii. Harris Sarmiento proved once again why he is the champ, and why he is known as one of the best that Hawaii has to offer.
Louis Smolka was faced with quite the different opposition. As one of his few pro fights in general, and his second in PXC, he had to show the world that he deserved a fast track to the upper echelon of competition. Alvin Cacdac was the task at hand for Louis. As a seasoned veteran of the fight game, and riding a two fight finishing streak in the PXC, Cacdac proved to be a tough test, or at least that's how they tried to sell it. Looking at Smolka's previous showing of dominance in his PXC debut, the "experts" still paid little mind to his resolve. Many more analysts were focused on Cacdac, stating that he would be the toughest test of young Smolka's career. How were they to know what we here in Hawaii already knew. . . the inverse was, in fact, the truth. Smolka would be the beast preying on Cacdac.
As a young fighter craving to make a statement, Smolka went through the obvious motions. He entered the cage with a stone face. Much different from his usual smiling self. And in the first round he underwent a massive beating to the face. Covered in blood and seemingly in a bad spot, Smolka could have easily counted himself outclassed and given in to defeat. But that is not the type of psychopath Louis is. He absorbed the damage and "Da Last Samurai" was awoken. From the second round on, he dished out his own brand of ass beating, leaving Cacdac gasping for air and steady ground at the end of the second round. From the mounted position, brought on by his own resilience, Smolka delivered vicious submission attempts as well as ground and pound. In the third, much of the same, until the end came via consciousness stealing Rear Naked Choke. The sure shot became the defeated, and the young buck became the number one contender.
Hawaii's veteran generation, as well as it's young gun generation told a similar story to the world of MMA last night. Hawaii fighters don't pay attention to scenarios, or hype, or cliche roles that all fighters fall into. They only focus on the fight, and the honor of representing our islands and it's fighters to the world. Congratulations to PXC Lightweight Champ, Harris Sarmiento, and PXC Flyweight #1 Contender, Louis Smolka. You are both the proud sons of these islands, and fine representatives of just what Hawaii fighters can do in the face of opposition. You made us all unclassiably proud.