ONE Championship: After title defense, what’s next for Joshua Pacio?

Published February 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jan Carlo Anolin

Joshua Pacio has defeated all former champions in the ONE strawweight division. So what’s next for the 24-year-old champion?

ONE Strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, right, and Brazilian challenger Alex Silva exchange blows during ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, January 31, 2020. (MB Photo / Rio Deluvio)
ONE Strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, right, and Brazilian challenger Alex Silva exchange blows during ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, January 31, 2020. (MB Photo / Rio Deluvio)

Downplaying his performance in the split decision win against Brazilian challenger Alex Silva, Pacio vowed to improve his all-around skills for the next fight — whoever that is.

“Naka-focus ako ngayon sa kung paano ko pa papa-level up ‘yung skills ko,” the Team Lakay champion said.

“Rematch man o sino man ‘yung next, para sa akin ibang Joshua Pacio ‘yung mapakita ko sa next.”

Joshua Pacio defends the ONE Strawweight title after defeating Brazilian Alex Silva in ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, January 31, 2020. (MB Photo / Rio Deluvio)
Joshua Pacio defends the ONE Strawweight title by beating Brazilian Alex Silva in ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, January 31, 2020. (MB Photo / Rio Deluvio)

The 24-year-old Baguio native, who holds a 16-3- record in mixed martial arts, has toppled all former strawweight champions starting from Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke of Thailand, Japanese fighters Yoshitaka Naito and Yosuke Saruta to Silva.

The win also made Pacio, who submitted fellow Filipino Rene Catalan in the second round via arm triangle choke last November, the first fighter to defend the strawweight title back to back.

In the five round thriller, Pacio, an efficient striker, displayed prowess in the ground game and matched the jiu-jitsu mastery of Silva.

The 37-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelter  lured Pacio on the floor but the wiser champion refused to do so and admitted to resorting to playing safe.

“I think he’s waiting for me to make a mistake. ‘Yung mga galing ng mga blackbelt, isang mistake mo, kukunin ka kaagad.

“Kung magii-scramble ka, mag-e-explode ka, nandoon ‘yung submission. So dahan-dahan ‘yung pag-escape ko para hindi makuha lalo na ‘yung arm triangle niya sa akin.”

At one point in the opening round, Pacio caught Silva’s left leg and eyed for the submission but failed.

Pacio’s improvement in ground game drew praises from Team Lakay mentor Mark Siangao.

Silva, however, found it hard to accept defeat and said he will review the match: “I don’t want to take a decision like that because I feel I had the fight.”

The Brazilian challenger later admitted that Pacio’s signature striking and developing ground game had impressed him.

“He’s a tough kid and he deserves to be on top of the division.” (Jan Carlo Anolin) ###

 
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