Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, of the Baguio-based champions’ gym of Team Lakay, won the ONE Strawweight World Championship title on Friday night in his second successful defense of the title.
The 24-year-old Pacio now sits on the throne as an undisputed ONE World Champion after battling five rounds and eventually winning by split decision against former world champion Alex Silva of Brazil in the “Fight & Fury” main card held at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City on January 31, 2020.
Joshua Pacio is now touted as “The Most Dominant Strawweight In History“, as the first man to defend the ONE Championship title twice. “He also now has wins against every other man who has owned the belt – and two of those avenged defeats – which means no one can dispute his claim to the throne for now. Pacio is also by far the youngest of the weight class’ elite, which suggests he would have the advantage if he was to face any of those athletes again,” says ONE FC.
In his post fight interview on the ring with Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson, Pacio was asked about his ground game, noting that Team Lakay had previously lost to the world’s best grapplers.
Pacio said it was hard, that although he had just successfully defended his belt two months ago he immediately went back to the training camp to work with his team, his coaches with the goal. Speaking in Filipino, Pacio said, “Para sa bayan… para magdominate din tayo sa ground game di lang makasabay (For the country, we needed to dominate and not just meet the challenge of the ground game)”.
Asked about what he hopes to achieve in 2020, Joshua Pacio displayed his characteristic Team Lakay humility, saying he wasn’t impressed with his own performance and that he still needs to work on his skills.
The Passion retained his championship belt which he last defended in November 2019 against fellow Filipino, Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Joshua Pacio first won the ONE Strawweight World Championship in 2018 during Team Lakay’s golden year of 4 concurrent Team Lakay world champions together with Eduard “Landslide” Folayang (ONE Lightweight World Champion), Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio (ONE Flyweight World Champion), and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon (ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion).
TEAM LAKAY AND ITS BREED OF CHAMPIONS
The 2018 Global Martial Arts Awardee Team Lakay’s performance showcased the Baguio-based training camp’s rapid growth in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sport.
The year 2019 proved a challenging year for the MMA stable as it lost 3 of the 4 championship belts they won the previous year, with Pacio the only one to keep his belt.
Team Lakay registered a strong start of the year 2020 as the Baguio gym also notched three other big wins for the Fight & Fury night.
Pacio’s number one training partner, 24-year-old Danny “The King” Kingad, defeated Xie “The Hunter” Wei of China via unanimous decision after three rounds in the Flyweight division.
Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang won in the first round with a spectacular submission by way of a Kimura grip against Pongsiri Mitsatit of Thailand in the Strawweight 56.7kg division. Adiwang’s win marks his ONE Championship debut after winning the ONE Warrior Series and extending his 7-win streak.
In an interview by Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson in the ONE Championship ring after the awarding, the 2-time Philippine National Wushu Champion was asked about the key to his success. “In this game the key is really my mindset, that even if how strong, how good you are, if I put in my mind, I’ll conquer myself, I’ll try to beat you anyway,” said the Thunder Kid.
The first win of the night was delivered by Gina “Conviction” Iniong who won by unanimous decision after three rounds against Asha Roka of India in the Atomweight 52.2kg division.
Iniong’s win gives her a back-to-back win after her winning bout in February 2019. In her interview with The Dragon, The Conviction thanked the Filipino people for supporting Team Lakay.
In the co-main event former lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang lost in a split decision to Dutchman Pieter “The Archangel” Buist while setting the record for the most bouts in ONE history with his 19th fight.
SEND CHEERS AND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Team Lakay for their superb performance in the ONE Championship Fight and Fury tournament!
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