That all changed the moment the opening bell rang as he looked like a grizzled veteran inside the Circle, running circles around “The Ghost” Chen Rui en route to a convincing unanimous decision win at ONE: BATTLEGROUND on 30 July at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
All it took was some words of encouragement from renowned head coach Mark Sangiao, and he found himself relieved of all the unnecessary pressure he felt in the weeks leading up to the bout.
“When I came in there, coach Mark told me, ‘This is your time. You have to focus and relax.’ So that’s what I did. I wasn’t pressured that much. When I came in there I was relaxed and playing my own game,” Pacatiw said.
He certainly looked relaxed.
Though the match was held on a Friday, Pacatiw had his “Saturday Night Fever” on, dancing around Chen as if he was John Travolta, while the Chinese athlete tried to stay alive on his initial advancements.
For Pacatiw, that’s pretty much his approach in every fight, and fans should expect more of that moving forward.
“That’s how I am. That’s how I really compete. I did it to frustrate him,” Pacatiw said.
“I know that he’s more of a brawler, so what I did was I played with him. I tried to look at his reactions before I executed our game plan.”
All in all, Pacatiw was happy with how he performed in his debut, as he lived up to the lofty expectations and proved why a lot of people were hyped over him even before he stepped into the ONE Circle.
Sure, there were some things to improve on, but those are things that can be worked on as he prepares for his next bout.
“I think I was able to execute my gameplan in the fight. Yes there were some mistakes but for me it’s alright, it’s something we can learn from. It’s something that I can work on the next time out and polish moving forward,” Pacatiw said.
“My execution with submissions can be improved, plus his defense was really good, so I had a hard time putting on the rear-naked choke. He also has a very strong upper body, that’s why we didn’t get it completely.
”But of course, that’s alright. I know it wouldn’t be easy against him, and I’d have to give him credit.”
Now that he’s made quite an impression in his debut, the goal for Pacatiw is to keep in top form while working on his weaknesses, as he looks to make a splash in the loaded ONE bantamweight division.
“The future plan is to [look at] my mistakes here in this match and work on them in the gym, just to make sure they’re polished,” he said.
“I know a lot of people will ask who I want next, but for me I just have to keep on winning, get on top, and look at who ONE wants me to face.”
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