Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw had Team Lakay’s full support coming into his match against No. 4-ranked contender Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade at ONE: Full Circle last Friday.
In preparation for the contest, fellow bantamweights and teammates Stephen Loman, Kevin Belingon, and Jhanlo Sangiao sparred with him using various fighting styles to cover all scenarios that might happen against the Brazilian.
But while training is essential in combat sports, no one can envision exactly how each bout will unfold.
“In a sense, we’re pretty much keeping our game plan from the first fight: utilize my footwork and keep moving. So, I have to use my speed and footwork, keep him guessing, and take him off his rhythm,” Pacatiw said prior to the bout.
“That’s one of my weapons, my footwork.”
His strategy worked in the opening stages thanks to his precise strikes and fluid movement inside the ONE Championship Circle.
“I think there were no lapses because, in the opening round, I was landing good shots. I think I was getting ahead of the game,” he recalled.
However, Andrade used Pacatiw’s aggression against him by landing a crushing knee that ended his winning chances at 1:37 of the opening round.
“His faultless timing makes him dangerous,” said the fighting pride of La Trinidad about Andrade during a post-fight interview.
The Phuket-based fighter launched the counter knee at the perfect moment to inflict unbearable pain on Pacatiw’s liver.
Worse yet, the knockout came just when the Filipino competitor was manifesting some serious confidence against highly favored “Wonder Boy.”
Despite the disappointing outcome, Pacatiw is thankful that his 24-year-old foe views him in high regard.
“I am happy that Fabricio Andrade gave me that huge respect for taking this fight. Respect is a word that every athlete should have in their vocabulary, opponent or not, winner or not,” he said.
Now owning an 11-5 career mixed martial arts record, “The Juggernaut” will spend some time with his family before going back to the drawing board at the fabled gym of world champions.
“I still need to work on every aspect of martial arts to become a better me every time I step on the cage,” he said.
“This result is a minor setback for a major comeback.”