[PHOTOS] Joshua Pacio, Yosuke Saruta face off during ‘ONE: Eternal Glory’ open workout in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan will challenge reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 23, of Baguio City, Philippines in the main event of “ONE: Eternal Glory” on January 19, 2019. On January 16, 2019, the two had their face-off during the official open workout for the upcoming ONE Championship event held at the Syena Martial Arts Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I feel I am at my best right now,” Pacio told the media. “After a tremendous training camp, I’m ready to step up to the plate and defend my title. This World Title means everything to me.”

“It represents all the hard work that me and my team have put in,” the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion added. “Now it’s time to reap the fruits of our labor.”

Saruta thanked ONE Championship for the opportunity to challenge for the ONE Strawweight World Championship. For him, it was certainly an honor.

“When I made my debut a few months ago, I wanted to make a statement,” Saruta stated. “I wanted to prove to the world that I am ready for a title shot immediately. That is what I have done and now we are here.”

Other ONE Championship athletes set to compete at “ONE: Eternal Glory” faced the fans and media in attendance with a world-class martial arts skills demonstration. Priscilla “Thathi” Hertati Lumban Gaol, 30, of Jakarta, Puja “The Cyclone”Tomar, 25, of Muzaffernaga, India, Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, 32, of Jakarta, Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, 28, of Iloilo, Philippines, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, 33, of Indonesia and the Netherlands and “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il, 33, of Goyang, South Korea exhibited their fighting skills alongside their respective coaches.

“ONE: Eternal Glory” will take place at Istora Senayan in Jakarta. The fight card features 10 mixed martial arts matches and two Muay Thai contests.

Here is a clip featuring the recent “ONE: Eternal Glory” open workout in Jakarta:

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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:

Robin Catalan: Stefer Rahardian’s grappling is good but his striking is not that dangerous

Robin Catalan (© ONE Championship)
Robin Catalan (© ONE Championship)

Hailing from Iloilo City, Philippines, Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, 30, won two of his three fights in ONE Championship in 2018. In 2019, his first bout will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia at “ONE: Eternal Glory” on January 19, 2019.

Catalan will face Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, 32, of Jakarta at “ONE: Eternal Glory.” The Filipino mixed martial artist looks to showcase his continuous development in his grappling when he takes on his Indonesian opponent.

Five of Rahardian’s nine wins were via submission. The Jakarta native is known for his slick grappling skills.

On July 27, 2018, Rahardian faced Catalan’s brother Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 40, at “ONE: Reign of Kings” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. After three five-minute rounds, the Indonesian fighter lost via unanimous decision, marking his first ever professional MMA loss.

“I think he’s a good grappler,” Robin said of Rahardian. “But his striking is not as a threat as he is on the ground. I’ll study his match against my brother to see how Rene was able to get the win, and maybe add some of the things I have been working on as well.”

Robin. An International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) Muay Thai World Champion, Robin knows that he has a huge advantage on the feet but he insists that he is not taking this match for granted.

Having witnessed Rene prepare for Rahardian for “ONE: Reign of Kings,” Robin is confident that his hands will be raised after the contest at “ONE: Eternal Glory.”  Knowing that Rahardian has his own set of advantages, Robin is working double time to try and neutralize it.

“I just need to follow the game plan that we have,” Robin said. “Regardless if it’s a decision or a knockout, my hand will be raised after the match.”

For Robin, it is only a matter of time before he gets catapulted to contendership status if he beats Rahardian at “ONE: Eternal Glory.” The Filipino MMA fighter said, “I’d like to have more wins.”

“I know the continuous developments in my game will lead me there,” Robin added. “Of course, a world title shot would be great, but I think I need to work on getting more wins to earn it.”

Watch Rene and Rahardian’s bout here:

[PHOTOS] Brazil vs Japan: Bruno Pucci, Kotetsu Boku fight at ‘ONE: Eternal Glory’ in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Brazil and Japan were among the 14 countries to be represented at “ONE: Eternal Glory” at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 19, 2019. It is the first event of ONE Championship in 2019.

Featured on the fight card were two Muay Thai bouts and 12 mixed martial arts matches. In the sixth bout of the evening, Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci, 28, of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil faced Kotetsu “No Face” Boku, 41, of Shizuoka, Japan.

Blue Corner

Boku is a South Korean-Japanese MMA fighter and kickboxer. He was born Park Kwang Cheol on May 27, 1977 in Shizuoka.

As an MMA fighter, Boku has been competing professionally since 2001. Early in his career, he competed mostly in Shooto.

When Boku made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Rise of Kings” on October 6, 2012, he knocked out Zorobabel “Zoro” Moreira, 35, of Macae, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “ONE: Eternal Glory” marked the South Korean-Japanese fighter’s 12th bout in the promotion.

Red Corner

Pucci is a multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion. He holds a professional BJJ record of 170 wins and 55 losses.

As an MMA fighter, Pucci has been competing professionally since 2011. He joined ONE Championship in 2013.

“ONE: Eternal Glory” marked Pucci’s eighth ONE Championship bout. He was coming out of a technical submission victory over “White Dragon” Xie Chao, 26, of Qingzhou, Shandong, China at  “ONE: Warrior’s Dream” on November 17, 2018.

Fight Result

Pucci and Boku competed in an MMA bout in the featherweight division. Referee Olivier Coste put a stop to the contest after 3 minutes and 32 seconds in the first round when the Brazilian fighter submitted his Japanese opponent via rear-naked choke.

Winning at “ONE: Eternal Glory” improved Pucci’s professional MMA record to 7 wins and 3 losses. He is now riding a two-bout winning streak.

On the other hand, Boku now has 26 wins, 13 losses and 2 draws. He is now riding a two-bout losing streak.

“ONE: Eternal Glory” Main Events

In the main event of “ONE: Eternal Glory,” Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan will challenge Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. The Japanese challenger won via split decision.

In the co-main event, Alexi “Phet” Serepisos, 24, of New Zealand and Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy, 23, of Thailand competed in a Muay Thai contest in the flyweight division. The Thai contender won via unanimous decision.

China, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom were also represented at “ONE: Eternal Glory.” Check the complete fight card here.

Watch all the “ONE: Eternal Glory” bouts here: