Saruta on Pacio trilogy: Third time's the charm

Top-ranked strawweight contender Yosuke Saruta hopes to settle unfinished business with current world champion Joshua Pacio of Team Lakay in their trilogy in ONE: Revolution at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sept. 24.

Yosuke Saruta (left) catches Joshua Pacio's legs on his spinning back kick attempt in their previous bout in this file photo. (ONE Championship)

"I have a game plan for Pacio this time. I will show him hell, I will drag him to the bottom of the sea," said Saruta, who holds a 21-9-3 win-loss-draw record, in an interview with ONE Championship. "Our next fight will be the final battle with him. The third time is a charm."

READ: Wish granted as Pacio takes on Japanese rival Saruta

Looking back at his previous fight against the Filipino, Saruta had regrets for having poor decision-making skills which resulted in Pacio knocking him out with a lethal right high knee in the fourth round

The 34-year-old Japanese icon recalled acting too "lazy" as if he wanted to finish the match as quickly as possible.

READ: Joshua Pacio gets wish, set to complete trilogy with Yosuke Saruta

Little did he know that Pacio is as hungry as him as the Team Lakay stalwart reclaimed the strawweight belt in their second clash in April 2019.

Pacio first captured the strawweight belt after dethroning Yoshitaka Naito, also of Japan, in September 2018 but lost it months later against Saruta in January 2019.

READ: Joshua Pacio wary of stacked strawweight division, remains ready to defend title

"I lost my way in that fight and felt that I took the easy way, even though I had trained so hard," said Saruta. "I felt like I wanted to finish the match as fast as I could and take a rest. I attacked frantically, and my opponent kicked at the right moment. My mind was weak, and I chose an easier way to fight. I regret being lazy in that match."

Not only Saruta wanted revenge against Pacio but also to take home the championship to the Land of the Rising Sun.

READ: Pacio downplays being labeled as 'new face of PH MMA'

If all things go according to plan, Saruta would like to finish Pacio either in the fourth and fifth round with a rear-naked choke and this time around with patience on the "hard path."

Meanwhile, Pacio, who owns a 19-3 record, will defend the strawweight title for the third straight time since defeating former world champion and Brazilian Alex Silva and compatriot Rene Catalan the past two years.

READ: Pacio downplays being labeled as 'new face of PH MMA'