Alvin “Kastigo” Ramirez is looking to finally put an MMA title around his waist this November.
[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]A[/mks_dropcap]t age 20, Alvin Ramirez competed in his first championship fight against then-pinweight champion Rey Docyogen at URCC 15 in 2009. Ramirez showed flashes of brilliance that night, rocking the champion from the famed Team Lakay. He eventually yielded to the defending Docyogen via unanimous decision. Two years after, both men met once again, but result came out the same.
Those disappointing outcomes didn’t stop Ramirez from making another title run. He moved up to the flyweight division and fought Hideo Morikawa for the vacant title two years ago in Pampanga. Again, he came up short with a unanimous decision loss.
Despite his efforts not enough to get the gold, the Yaw-Yan Buhawi fighter remains persistent. He’s kept a positive attitude that the right time will come. In a few weeks, he has another shot at the title when he takes on reigning 125-pound division champ CJ de Tomas in the co-main event of URCC 28. A determined Ramirez vows to never let this opportunity slip away.
“Kumbaga parang buhay ko na itong MMA so kelangan mag-champion din ako,” the 27-year old shares to Dojo Drifter. “Ngayon, tinutukan ko yung mga mistakes ko nung mas bata ako siyempre at the same time, naging motivation ko yun. Imbis na nalugmok ako na hindi lumaban ulit, mas nagtraining ako nang nagtraining kung ano yung kulang ko.”
The resilient Ramirez fought Carlo Laurel in one of the highly anticipated fights of the year. He made a statement by winning via third round doctor’s stoppage to earn his fourth URCC title shot. He has proved in that fight that he can now fare well against grapplers and looks to do the same against de Tomas, who dominated Morikawa in five rounds to become one of the youngest Filipino MMA champions.
Ramirez applauds de Tomas’ achievement at a young age. However, he believes that he has the tools to nullify the champion’s ground game. He said that de Tomas hasn’t faced anyone with superior offense which he possesses.
“To realize my goal, mas mag-iingat ako sa takedowns kasi alam ko dadalin niya ako sa ground eh. Yun naman ang superior na game plan niya eh. Pero ang napapansin ko kay CJ, pagkatakedown niya, wala nang kasunod na iba, hindi na nagtutuloy-tuloy. So kung ganun ng ganun yung laro, matakedown man niya ako, makakatayo din ako agad,” Ramirez described.
“Siyempre ang mga nakalaban niya hindi solid na striker kagaya ko. Gugulatin ko si CJ sa mga bibitawan ko sa kanya. Hindi siya sanay matamaan ng ganun eh, iba yung mga mabibigat na suntok, mabibigat na sipa. Iba yung suntok ni Hideo tsaka ni Carlo sa atake ko.”
Early this year, Ramirez spent time in Johor Bahru, Malaysia to work as an instructor at Equinox Gym to teach the martial art of Yaw-Yan. According to him, the experience provided him another means to further improve as a fighter.
Now back home, he continues to share his knowledge in the martial arts. For him, it helps him to analyze his opponent’s movement and believes that it will come handy on fight night.
“Malaking bagay ito para sa Filipino martial arts. Dayuhan ako doon tapos ang tinuturo ko doon, sariling atin kumbaga, Yaw-Yan. Tapos ang mga gumagawa mga Muslim, mga Malaysians, so nakikita ko sa pagtuturo ko na naprapractice ko ang mga galaw, movements ng mga iba’t ibang klaseng tao,” He said.
“Kung mahina siya sa takedowns o mahina siyang sumuntok o mahina siya sumipa, mas magfofocus kami sa pag suntok at sa upper body exercises para mas mapabuti. So yun siguro ang malaking tulong sa akin sa pag-oobserve ng techniques ng ibang tao. Kelangan mo iyon sa laro na maging observant ka dahil kung hindi mo mapapansin ang galaw ng kalaban mo, dun ka niya dadalhin.”
Now better and wiser since his first title fight, Ramirez is more determined to finally get the belt this time around. “Confident ako dahil napatunayan ko, pareho ko silang na-knockdown so ngayon mas naging wise ako, kay CJ ko nalang i-aapply ang ganung game ko.”