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Mixed Martial Arts

After settling business with Saruta, Pacio looks to end Naito chapter


Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio proved that Team Lakay’s ‘trilogy curse’ was nothing but a myth.

Facing old foe Yosuke Saruta on Friday evening during ONE: Revolution, the 25-year-old native of Baguio native wasted no time. He blasted his Japanese foe into oblivion in the very first round, ending their trilogy at 2-1.

ONE-Revolution-Joshua-Pacio-def-Yosuke-Saruta After settling business with Saruta, Pacio looks to end Naito chapter Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news

Photo from ONEFC.com

“Every fight I expect to go three or five rounds. I did not expect that fast finish,” said Pacio.

“I was shocked that he was kicking and striking with me. Striking is my world so I said, ‘Let’s bring it on.'”

It was a long 32 months for Pacio, who badly wanted to win his series against Saruta.

The rivalry started back in January 2019 and evened in April of the very same year.

The past 20 months, though, have been very challenging for Pacio. He figured in a freak injury in training while also contracting COVID-19.

That is why for now, all Pacio wants is to take a break.

“For me, I’m going back home, take a rest, and train after two weeks,” he shared.

But once he gets to return to Team Lakay’s Central Gym, he will have one person in mind – and that’s Yoshitaka Naito.

“What’s next for me? I think ONE Championship will give me the next ranked challenger, which is either Naito or Bokang [Masunyane].”

The history between Naito and Pacio goes back to five years ago.

Pacio was an unstoppable prospect back then, defeating Robin Catalan and Kritsada Kongsrichai in his first two bouts in ONE.

#ReadMore  Joshua Pacio gets shot at redemption come ONE: Roots of Glory

But during ONE: State of Warriors, Pacio faced Naito who also sported an 11-0 record just like him. One had to fall right?

ONE-State-of-Warriors-Joshua-Pacio-vs.-Yoshitaka-Naito After settling business with Saruta, Pacio looks to end Naito chapter Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news

On that night, Naito was able to stop Pacio with a third round rear-naked choke.

ONE-Conquest-of-Heroes-Joshua-Pacio-def-Naito-1 After settling business with Saruta, Pacio looks to end Naito chapter Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news

It took two years and a month before Pacio could avenge that victory. And he did it through a unanimous decision win during ONE: Conquest of Heroes.

For Pacio, he is hoping that he and Naito could finally settle the score.

“I just want to prove to people that say that trilogy fights is a curse for Team Lakay. I broke it tonight and I want to do it again.”

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