Pinoy Pacio secures ONE Championship strawweight belt in Jakarta
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Brandon Vera, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, and now Joshua Pacio.
The Baguio-based Pacio became the fourth reigning Filipino ONE Championship titleholder after prying the strawweight belt from Yoshitaka Naito in ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday night, September 22, via a hard-earned unanimous decision.
The five-rounder was no classic, but it did show the defensive discipline and grit from both fighters.
Pacio, a 22-year-old Team Lakay product, improved to 13-2 and avenged a loss to the same fighter from 2016, also a title bout.
After being given the belt, Pacio said he dedicated the victory to those in Baguio and Benguet affected by Typhoon Ompong.
"Cordillera will come back and rise again," said Pacio.
On Saturday, it was the HRM student from University of Cordillera who rose to the occasion. The second round was pivotal, with the Filipino asserting himself on the ground against a Japanese vet 12 years his senior.
The third round saw more chess being played on the mat, while the fourth began as a stand-up slugfest but ended with Pacio staving off defeat as Naito's ground and pound was halted by the bell.
The fifth round was tight, with both fighters gaining advantageous positions on the ground. However neither defense buckled, and the match ended up going to the judges cards. They all favored the Filipino.
"I tried to counter his takedown defense but this guy is a legend," said Pacio of his opponent.
The evening started on a bad note for the Philippines when Jomary Torres was stopped by Indonesian Priscila Gaol via unanimous decision in the ladies atomweight contest.
Torres, who hails from Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte, came into the bout with a pristine 4-0 record. But early on it was clear that the hometown bet was a class higher.
Gaol's superb takedown defense countered Torres' aggression well. Torres had a few opportunities from side mounts but none prospered.
The judges had no choice but to award Gaol the fight unanimously to the delight of the hometown crowd. Torres' record now stands at 4-1-0.
Danny Kingad lifted the spirits of the Filipino contingent when he produced an excellent third round to edge Japanese Yuya Wakamatsu in a flyweight contest via a unanimous decision.
Kingad was bloodied in the mouth in the first round by a lively Wakamatsu, who even forced the Pinoy into a brief injury timeout with a leg kick that connected. Kingad did, however catch Wakamatsu in a near-rear naked choke but the Japanese wriggled free.
The second round was cagey but the third went to the Igorot from Sadanga, Mountain Province, who showed great cage generalship with three fine takedowns of his opponent. Kingad, also from Team Lakay, improved to 10-1-0 in his professional career.
In the main undercard Peng Xue Wen disappointed the home support by defeating Indonesian Stefer Rahardian in a strawweight clash. – Rappler.com