Joshua Pacio kept the hits coming for the Cordilleras as he became the third Team Lakay fighter to currently hold a belt when he outgunned Yoshitaka Naito for the ONE strawweight title during ONE: Conquest of Heroes last September 22 at Indonesia.
He joins Geje Eustaquio, the Flyweight Champion, and Kevin Belingon, the Bantamweight titleholder, as current ONE world belt holders.
Counting Brandon Vera, the ONE heavyweight title holder, Pacio’s victory enhanced the Philippines’ dominance in the promotion with four current world championship title holders.
“The Passion” displayed superior striking and a much-improved takedown and grappling defense to defeat “Nobita” via unanimous decision to claim the belt.
Pacio started hostilities by delivering a leg kick that shake off the balance of Naito. He followed it up with two more leg kicks mixed with a combination and an upper cut.
When Naito went for a takedown, he defended it well and answered with knees, punches and elbows that set the tone for the entire evening.
When Round One ended, more of the same offense from Pacio connected while four more takedown attempts were well defended.
More of the same action happened in Round Two, with Pacio defending well another four takedowns while dishing off the knees and leg/side kicks.
Naito’s first successful takedown occurred at the onset of Round Three but Pacio still fended the attack, got out of the guard and got back to his feet, one and a half minute into the round.
The ground and pound action continued throughout the round, with the two combatants exchanging positions on the top towards the end of the round which Naito should have probably won.
Pacio was back at it again at the start of the fourth, connecting a leg kick, an upper cut, and another leg kick to open the round. He fended off two more takedowns and rendered Naito unable to advance his position in the other.
Both combatants were exchanging punches and elbows as the bell sound off to end the round.
The action spilled over in round five as both combatants exchanged blows on their feet to start the round.
Naito went for another takedown, only to receive a Pacio knee in the process. Three more takedowns occurred with Pacio defending all of them well marked the end of the back and forth action in the fifth and the entertaining face-off.
Pacio’s overall dominance throughout the bout earned him the nod of all three judges, who scored the bout on an unusual manner, that of judging the bout taking all five rounds together instead of the per round basis.
Pacio, who improves to 13-2, is now the fifth Team Lakay fighter to hold a bout, following Honorio Banario, who was the first Featherweight Champ way back in 2013, Eduard Folayang, who previously won the Flyweight title, Eustaquio, and Belingon as those who, at one point of their career, were ONE Champions.
All three current ONE world title holders won their belts in 2018.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS