Press Release by Jeremy Luchau (PFC)
If there is a theme for Palace Fighting Championship 13′s “Validation” fight card on Friday, May 8 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif., it will be ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. bellowing “Fighting for the PFC World Vacant …”
Four titles will be on the line, as the PFC heads outdoors in what’s being touted as one of the hottest mixed martial arts cards of the year.
And three of the championship bouts are for vacant titles.
The vacant PFC World Middleweight title is on the line when Oakland, Calif.’s Leopoldo Serao (15-7) meets Merced, Calif.’s Phil Collins (7-4).
Oakland, Calif.’s Dominique Robinson (14-2-1) will meet Brasilia, Brazil’s Carlo Prater (23-6-1) for the vacant PFC World Lightweight strap
The PFC will finally crown a PFC World Flyweight champion when Scottsdale, Ariz.’s Pat Runez (5-0) takes on fill in Fresno, Calif.’s Anthony Perales (3-0).
“Runez has really impressed me with not just his skills, but his cardio and his pace. Man, he doesn’t stop. That’s what I love about the flyweight division. At first people clowned us for opening up to flyweights and now you see other promotions catching on,” PFC Founder and President Christian Printup said. “These cats go fast and furious. I know the odds makers aren’t giving Perales much of a chance in this one, but the kid has solid wrestling, and has been training hard for the past year on his stand up. I like guys like him, because on short notice they step up and realize the opportunity being given to them and you know both of these guys want the belt. So, it’s going to be a war.”
No fighter has gone through more opponent switches in the last year than Runez, who defeated Hanford, Calif.’s Luis Gonzalez (3-1) in a tournament semifinal to reach the title bout, which was schedule for January.
But Thailand’s Rambaa Somdet (6-2) could not compete due a last minute injury following weighins.
The flyweight title tilt was moved to May 8 and Runez was scheduled to face Las Vegas, Nev.’s Ulysses Gomez (3-1). But Gomez had to pull out due to an injury in training and Perales stepped in late to fill the void.
“I wanted to fight him back in January. The PFC contacted me then about filling in and I even cut five pounds the day of the fight to come in and fight him, but it didn’t end up happening,” Perales said. “I’m going to do what I have to do to win this title. I don’t know much about Runez… just that he is an explosive wrestler and has pretty good hands.”
Runez has quietly been making a name for himself out of Arizona Combat Sports and is expected to be one of the most sought after 125-pound fighters.
“I’m always training and ready. With the PFC now I’ve had a couple different opponent changes, but really that’s the sport. People get hurt all the time. We get calls all the time in our gym for people to take last-minute fights,” Runez said. “It makes it tough when you train for a specific fighter and things change. I really don’t know anything about this guy. He’s from California and I assume that he is just an all-around good guy. I’m confident in all aspects of my game.”
Robinson and Prater meet in what’s sure to be one of the most exciting and hard-fought contests on the card.
“I know Prater has been around the block if you know what I mean. He has a very good ground game and from what I hear is a nice guy and he keeps his chin way up in the air,” Robinson said.
“You can expect to see me standing and trying to take this guys head off and him trying to hold me and take me down like everyone does.”
Robinson has moved his way up the PFC ladder with a pair of impressive wins over Chuck Kim (6-7) and Takumi Nakayama (13-12-4).
“I don’t know much about (Robinson). My trainers looked at some of his stuff, but I just train,” Prater said. “You can expect a spectacle, a war, a classic title fight in every sense of the phrase.”
Prater should be one of Robinson’s toughest tests. Prater is coming of a World Extreme Cagefighitng loss to Brock Larson (25-2).
“Man, from an organizational view point I’m super excited for the Robinson/Prater fight for our vacant Lightweight Championship, because either guy will be a great representative of the PFC. Dominique is an ultra athletic guy. He has so much natural ability and he trains hard and pushes the pace. He initiates action and that stuff leads to winning fights,” Printup said. “Carlo Prater is definitely one of the best BJJ players in MMA and Fallen Angel will have to be cautious on the ground. Angel has the speed advantage and Prater will be bigger as he has mainly fought at 170. So, we’ll see how it shakes out but I know both guys are very hungry and both have a lot on the line.”
Prater will be making his PFC debut in this fight.
“I feel honored. I take this title shot extremely seriously and would like to thank the PFC for putting it together,” Prater said.
Robinson on the other hand, feels a little differently about fighting for the title. Prater was originally scheduled to fight Bakersfield, Calif.’s Brian Cobb (15-5), who vacated his PFC title to move on to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Robinson was added late and felt a bit slighted with Prater fighting for the title in his first appearance in the PFC.
“If Prater wasn’t in my spot and if I wasn’t taking the place of the champ that left I would feel great about fighting for the title,” Robinson explains. “The prestige of winning a belt from a promotion like the PFC is still high, but the whole ‘I earned this’ feeling is gone. Now it just feels like, ‘he’s here because our champ left’.”
Collins and Serao also both won eliminators of sorts to move into title position, as Collins won a unanimous decision against Lemoore, Calif.’s Kenny Ento (9-5) in November and Serao won a decision against North Highlands, Calif.’s Jaime Jara (21-6) the same night.
“Both Serao and Collins beat legit fighters to advance to this point. They are a contrast in styles and personally I think it’s going to be a very entertaining fight, because I know how badly both guys want to be champion,” Printup said. “The winner gets the winner of Doug Marshall and Jaime Jara in all likelihood. So, whoever does earn the belt is going have to be ready to get down.”
Collins, like most fights, is relishing his role.
“I’m going in this fight like the underdog… like I do all my fights,” said Collins, who has won three of his last four fights. “I will go in and try and hit him and hit him hard. We all know what he is going to try and do… grab me and take me down.”
Collins recently switched training camps and has battled through serious adversity to get to May 8th, but said he will do what he has always done and fight who the PFC puts in front of him.
“He’s really just another guy. A guy that the PFC put in front of me and I’ve always fought who ever they asked of me. They wanted me to go up to 205 and fight Doug (Marshall) and I did. They wanted me to rematch Kenny Ento and I did. Now I’m fighting for the title,” Collins said. “I’m training hard with a new team and camp and I’m more determined then ever to go out there and win.”
Serao recently snapped a 2-fight losing streak.
“I feel good about fighting for the title. I’m very happy to have a chance to fight for the belt. Winning the PFC championship belt would be one of the highlights of my career,” Serao said. “I’m really looking forward to this fight. The fans can expect more action. I’m in very good shape, and I’m hungry for a fight.”
In the main event, Visalia, Calif. middleweight Doug Marshall (9-3) battles veteran North Highlands, Calif.’s Jaime Jara (21-6) and in the co-main event Fresno, Calif.’s Casey Olson (9-2) takes on Las Vegas, Nev.’s Eddie Yagin (12-3-1) in a featherweight elimination bout.
Ensenada, Mexico’s Olaf Alfonso (8-10) will defend his PFC World Welterweight championship for the first time in a 5-round showdown with Santa Rosa, Calif.’s Kyle Pimentel (6-0).