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Joshua Pacio knocks out Saruta, reclaims ONE Strawweight crown

Exactly 83 days after losing the ONE Strawweight World Championship, Joshua Pacio made sure to regain it in emphatic fashion.

Not leaving anything to chance like in their last bout, Pacio knocked out Japanese bane Yosuke Saruta with a huge head kick in the fourth round to become a two-time world champion, Friday evening during ONE: Roots of Honor at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“I’m so speechless. Like I said, there’s a lot of hesitation back then. Our game plan, I applied it this time. You saw it,” Pacio shared.

Unlike their first bout during ONE: Eternal Glory last January in Indonesia, Pacio was more patient this time, not overeager to charge Saruta.

Though the Japanese champion had his moments, the Baguio native remained calm.

And in the fourth stanza, he picked his spot, popping Saruta with a right head kick for the knockout win.

“Belt nating lahat ito!” declared Pacio, who is now 14-3. Saruta dropped to 19-9.

In the last quarterfinal bout of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, Tatsumitsu Wada (21-10) took a controversial unanimous decision win over former Olympian Gustavo Balart of Cuba (8-2). Wada will take on former UFC World Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson in the semis.

Leandro Issa (17-7) proved that he can go up to featherweight, putting on a grappling showcase against Fu Chang Xin (9-2). The Brazilian seamlessly transitioned multiple locks all throughout the bout, before settling for an armbar that resulted in the tap-out just three minutes into the bout.

American welterweight James Nakashima (11-0) pulled off the biggest win in his young career after former title contender Luis Santos (65-12-1) verbally submitted due to injury.

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Early in the second round, Nakashima – who fought in ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila last November – took down Santos. However, Santos fell awkwardly as Nakashima trapped his left knee.

In a light heavyweight Kickboxing showdown, Andrei Stoica (50-12) of Romania outlasted Ibrahim El Bouni of Morocco in a highly-emotional bout.

ONE: Roots of Honor results
April 12, 2019 – SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City

  • ONE Strawweight World Championship: Joshua Pacio def. Yosuke Saruta via KO4 (2:43 – right head kick)
  • ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals: Tatsumitsu Wada def. Gustavo Balart via UD
  • Catchweight bout (MMA): Leandro Issa def. Fu Chang Xin via SUB2 (armbar – 3:03)
  • Light Heavyweight bout (Kickboxing): Andrei Stoica def. Ibrahim El Bouni via UD
  • Welterweight bout (MMA): James Nakashima def. Luis Santos via verbal tap2 (injury – :56)


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