Now all-too familiar with each other, the pair of strawweights will put a lid on their trilogy in the co-main event of ONE: REVOLUTION on September 24.
“I’ve always wanted this fight because I think this is where we’re headed anyway,” Pacio said.
“One way or another we have to finish this trilogy because he’s also the number one contender. We might as well make it happen because I know he’ll be in this position for a long time. He deserves it.”
They first faced off in January of 2019, where the Japanese challenger fought a great fight, keeping Pacio at bay to win the ONE Strawweight World Title in a close match.
Pacio retained his strap in April of the same year, beating Saruta via a knee to the head in the fourth round.
The two went on separate but equally successful paths from there, although the Saruta camp believes that the Filipino might have been a tad but lucky in the second fight.
It’s something that Pacio took exception to.
“Maybe for them [that was lucky], but I have been doing martial arts half of my life. I’ve been training and working on all my tools for a whole lot of time. Maybe if I was only training for two months and I knocked him out, then we can say I was lucky. But that’s not the case,” Pacio said.
“That finish was part of our game plan. It’s something I’ve been doing, training, and repeating for 15 years, so I don’t think luck played a part.”
For Pacio, there really isn’t anything that can surprise him now from Saruta, and he’s not promising to come out with something new either. However, what he does promise is someone who won’t second guess himself.
“We know each other well. We faced each other twice, and for me I’m more confident. I’m different now. Wherever this match goes, whether it be a wrestling match, a match contested on the ground or on the feet, I’m confident,” Pacio said.
“I can say what I truly have now is confidence, especially if you look back on the first fight. I wasn’t that confident back then. I don’t think the same can be said now.”
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