Pacio focused on drills for Saruta trilogy

Published September 17, 2021, 4:39 PM

by Carlo Anolin

ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio had a change of pace with his training regimen in preparation for the trilogy against Japanese rival Yosuke Saruta on Sept. 24 in ONE: Revolution at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Joshua Pacio of Team Lakay (ONE Championship)

Pacio bared during a media availability on Friday, Sept. 17 that his camp focused more on the execution of drills than the strength and conditioning aspect.

“Kailangan natin mag-improve so nag-focus kami nila coach [Mark Sangiao] more on drills. Kung dati mas marami kaming time for strength and conditioning, this time mas marami kaming time na mag-drills, said Pacio, who is set to defend his strawweight title belt for the third consecutive time. “Nag-focus kami sa techniques and sa strengths and weaknesses natin.”

As much as Pacio wanted to maximize his bread and butter, the striking department, the lone Filipino champion in the promotion said he’s just looking for a dominating performance against Saruta.

Without a knockout or submission, the 25-year-old Pacio is hoping for his fists to be raised in celebration in the hopes of concluding the much-awaited trilogy.

For Pacio, Saruta, who holds a 21-9-3 win-loss-draw record, really deserves to fight for the belt as the division’s No. 1 contender.

“Sabi nga natin, this is MMA (mixed martial arts) so we’re also ready kahit saan man mapunta ‘yong laban,” added the Team Lakay stalwart. “Para sa akin unahan to.”

Pacio first captured the strawweight belt after dethroning Yoshitaka Naito, also of Japan, in September 2018 but Saruta came to take it once more in January 2019.

Only three months later after the January bout, Pacio avenged his defeat by knocking Saruta out with a vicious right high knee in the fourth round.

Since then, Pacio rode on a three-match win streak including wins coming from Saruta in the rematch, compatriot Rene Catalan in November 2019, and former world champion Alex Silva in January last year.