Team Lakay has solid game plan in place for Joshua Pacio’s title defense against Yosuke Saruta in Indonesia

Joshua Pacio, Yosuke Saruta

To become a ONE World Champion is an achievement few athletes accomplish during their professional careers but earning that coveted title and keeping that title are two entirely different things.

Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, wrote his name in the history books last September when he defeated Yoshitaka Naito to capture the ONE Strawweight World Championship.

Pacio will now attempt to do what neither Naito or the man Naito took the belt off of Alex Silva could do, and that is to mount a successful defense of the title he has only recently claimed.

“The Passion” is set to have his first defense on 19 January at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia against the highly-rated Japanese athlete Yosuke Saruta.

Saruta is a relative newcomer to the ONE roster but made an instant impact when he defeated Silva via unanimous decision in December at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS.

The 31-year-old former Shooto World Champion is not only a skilled grappler, he also packs lethal right hand, capable of sending his opponents to sleep before they are even aware they have been hit.

None of this is news to Pacio, and the 22-year-old is aware of the fact that there will be no room for errors when the cage doors close on January 19, 2019.

“I’m coming into this fight, as usual, in the best shape of my life,” Pacio said recently to onefc.com.

“The way I fight, my style is very fast-paced with constant movement. To be able to maintain my pace, I have to be in great physical condition. We have worked extensively on my conditioning, and I’m prepared for a five-round war.

“Of course, we still have a solid game plan in place, and that’s going to be a huge key to victory. I have the best team behind me and the best coach.

“As long as we put our heads together, and I follow my coach’s instructions, I’m confident I can retain the title and bring home another golden strap to Baguio City.”

A  championship bout is stressful enough, but for Pacio, who trains out of Team Lakay there will be the added pressure of being the first of Team Lakay’s four ONE World Champions to stage a successful title defense in 2019.

Alongside Pacio, the Baguio City gym is also home to ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon, and ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.

“The Passion” will no doubt be wanting to start Team Lakay’s year on the right track but there is no telling how the pressure will impact his mindset leading up to the contest.

However, from recent interviews, it would appear that the Filipino is relishing the extra scrutiny that comes with being a World Champion.

“This is my chance to prove that I deserve the golden strap. It belongs here in the Philippines. I will defend it with faith and hard work,” Pacio said. “That goes for the rest of the team. Our dedication and love for this sport allows us to do amazing things. We find ways to train through anything.”

“Even though we don’t have fancy gym equipment, or the latest in technology, or even nutritionists, we still manage to succeed with good old fashioned hard work,” Pacio continued. “We research, study, and learn. We adapt, and we apply. I am so proud to be a part of Team Lakay and to represent my country on the global stage of ONE Championship. I will do everything I can to keep the title.”

The first ONE Championship main event of 2019 is shaping up to be a possible classic encounter between two determined and highly-focused competitors, and if this is what the year has in store for ONE fans, it will definitely be a memorable one.

Here is a recent interview with Pacio:

‘ONE: Eternal Glory’ results: Joshua Pacio vs Yosuke Saruta, Alexi Serepisos vs Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy

Joshua Pacio, Yosuke Saruta

  • Promotion: ONE Championship
  • Title: “ONE: Eternal Glory
  • Venue: Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Date: January 19, 2019

PRELIMINARY CARD

1. Oscar Yaqut (Indonesia) vs Andreas “Yahyaz” Satyawan (Indonesia)

  • DIVISION: Featherweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: OSCAR YAQUT
  • METHOD: Technical Knockout
  • TIME AND ROUND: 2:36 of Round 2
  • REFEREE: Kemp Cheng

2. Adi “Zenwalk” Paryanto (Jakarta, Indonesia) vs Aziz “The Krauser” Calim (Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia)

  • DIVISION: Strawweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: AZIZ CALIM
  • METHOD: Submission via Rear-Naked Choke
  • TIME AND ROUND: 4:40 of Round 1
  • REFEREE: Kemp Cheng

3. “The Terminator” Sunoto (Jakarta, Indonesia) vs Niu Kang Kang (Shanghai, China)

  • DIVISION: Catchweight (68 kg) (MMA)
  • WINNER: NIU KANG KANG
  • METHOD: Knockout via Head Kick
  • TIME AND ROUND: 0:31 of Round 1
  • REFEREE: Olivier Coste

4. Rasul Yakhyaev (Grozny, Chechnya, Russia) vs Koji “The Commander” Ando (Tokyo, Japan)

  • DIVISION: Lightweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: KOJI ANDO 
  • METHOD: Split Decision
  • ROUNDS: 3
  • REFEREE: Olivier Coste

5. Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen (Netherlands and Indonesia) vs “Pretty Boy” Won Il Kwon (Goyang, South Korea)

  • DIVISION: Featherweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: WON IL KWON
  • METHOD: Technical Knockout
  • TIME AND ROUND: 1:07 of Round 1
  • REFEREE: Kemp Cheng

MAIN CARD

6. Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci (Curitiba, Parana, Brazil) vs Kotetsu “No Face” Boku (Shizuoka, Japan)

  • DIVISION: Featherweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: BRUNO PUCCI 
  • METHOD: Submission via Rear-Naked Choke
  • TIME AND ROUND: 3:32 of Round 1
  • REFEREE: Olivier Coste

7. Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian (Jakarta, Indonesia) vs Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan (Iloilo, Philippines)

  • DIVISION: Strawweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: ROBIN CATALAN
  • METHOD: Unanimous Decision
  • ROUNDS: 3
  • REFEREE: Kemp Cheng

8. Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri (Milan, Italy) vs Jonathan Haggerty (Walworth, London, England)

  • DIVISION: Flyweight (ONE Super Series, Muay Thai)
  • WINNER: JONATHAN HAGGERTY
  • METHOD: Unanimous Decision
  • ROUNDS: 3
  • REFEREE: Atsushi Onari

9. Priscilla “Thathi” Hertati Lumban Gaol (Jakarta, Indonesia) vs Puja Tomar (Muzaffernaga, India)

  • DIVISION: Women’s Atomweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: PUJA TOMAR
  • METHOD: Split Decision
  • ROUNDS: 3
  • REFEREE: Olivier Coste

10. Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly (Baguio City, Philippines) vs Christian “The Warrior” Lee (Singapore)

  • DIVISION: Strawweight (MMA)
  • WINNER: CHRISTIAN LEE
  • METHOD: Technical Knockout
  • TIME AND ROUND: 2:53 of Round 1
  • REFEREE: Kemp Cheng

 CO-MAIN EVENT

11. Alexi “Phet” Serepisos (New Zealands) vs Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy (Thailand)

  • DIVISION: Flyweight (ONE Super Series, Muay Thai)
  • WINNER: MONGKOLPETCH PETCHYINDEE ACADEMY
  • METHOD: Unanimous Decision
  • ROUNDS: 3
  • REFEREE: Atsushi Onari

MAIN EVENT

12. Joshua “The Passion” Pacio (La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines) vs Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta (Saitama, Japan)

  • DIVISION: ONE Strawweight World Championship
  • WINNER: YOSUKE SARUTA
  • METHOD: Split Decision
  • ROUNDS: 5
  • REFEREE: Olivier Coste

Cancelled bouts:

  • ONE Strawweight World Championship: Joshua “The Passion” Pacio (La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines) vs Hayato Suzuki (Takahagi City, Ibaraki, Japan)
  • MMA strawweight: Riski “King Kong” Umar (Ternate, North Maluku, Indonesia) vs Aziz “The Krauser” Calim (Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia)
  • MMA bantamweight: “The Terminator” Sunoto (Jakarta, Indonesia) vs Xie Jun Peng (Harbin, Heilongjiang, China)
  • MMA lightweight: Kharun “Predator” Atlangeriev (Dagestan, Russia) vs Koji “The Commander” Ando (Tokyo, Japan)
  • MMA featherweight: Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen (Netherlands and Indonesia) vs Thai Rithy (Vihea Sua, Kandal, Cambodia)
  • MMA bantamweight: “Lycanthrope” Ahmad Qais Jasoor (Kabul, Afghanistan) vs Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari (Tokyo, Japan)
  • ONE Super Series kickboxing middlerweight: Florent Kaouachi (Reunion Island, France) vs Steve “The Smashing Machine” Mckinnon (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)
  • MMA featherweight: Yohan “The Ice Man” Mulia Legowo (Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia) vs AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor (Sabah, Malaysia)

Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio: Philippines is world-class in martial arts

Joshua Pacio (© ONE Championship)
Joshua Pacio (© ONE Championship)

The Philippines currently has six reigning world champions in mixed martial arts. Among them, the youngest one is ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, who is currently studying at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City.

“Thank you everyone for all the support and prayers,” Pacio said during the Team Lakay champions parade on December 2, 2018 in Baguio City. “It’s a happy time in Baguio City where we can celebrate all our victories as one. This isn’t just our triumphs but also the triumph of the entire Cordilleras.”

Including Pacio, five of the Filipino reigning MMA world champions represent Team Lakay and they were all present during the parade. The other four are ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 31, ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, and Brave Combat Federation Bantamweight Champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman, 23.

“This year, we proved that the Philippines is world-class in martial arts,” Pacio declared. “Next year, we plan to do the same again.”

The sixth Filipino reigning MMA world champion not from Team Lakay is also a ONE Championship athlete. He is ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 41, who founded the Alliance MMA Gym in 2007.

“We pour in all the hard work, to improve and to keep getting better,” Pacio said. “We train during holidays, weekends and sacrifice so much to bring glory to our country and to our city but we could never have any success without your love and support.”

Pacio is the fifth ONE Championship athlete to hold the ONE Strawweight World Championship title. He has been holding the belt since September 22, 2018 when he dethroned former champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan.

Naito held the title twice, first in 2016 and in 2018. The other two former champions in the strawweight division of ONE Championship are Dejdamrong “Kru Rong” Sor Amnuaysirichoke, 40, of Thailand and Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 36, of Brazil.

Meanwhile, here is a recent interview with Pacio: