More than a title shot, Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio has Naito, Suzuki on his sights

More than title shot, Pacio has Naito, Suzuki on his sights
“Sa akin, gusto ko pa mag-collect or lumaban pa ng marami, para makakuha ng more experience, na masgusto ko pang kalabanin yung mga elite."

In the co-main event of Friday’s ONE Championship: Global Superheroes card at the Mall of Asia Arena, Team Lakay strawweight star Joshua ‘The Passion’ Pacio showed once again why he’s considered as one of the best young stars in the game after thoroughly dominating Chinese newcomer Lan Ming Qiang en route to a first-round submission win.

The 22-year old Pacio, a gifted striker, decided to take the fight to the ground in the opening round and from there, had his way with Qiang, who ended up tapping to a masterfully applied Rear Naked Choke with a minute left in round.

From a grapplling standpoint, Pacio displayed did almost everything right, from getting the takedown, moving into mount, and eventually getting the back and finishing the choke. It was a clear indication of the Baguio City native’s improvement on the ground.

He maintains however, that he isn’t rushing into another title shot just yet. “Para sa akin, yun nga, hindi ko pa iniisp yung title shot or iharap yung champion.”

“Sa akin, gusto ko pa mag-collect or lumaban pa ng marami, para makakuha ng more experience, na masgusto ko pang kalabanin yung mga elite. Andiyan sina Hayato Suzuki, si Yoshitaka Naito, kailangan ko pang i-prove yung sarili ko.” Pacio added.

The two-names Pacio mentioned, Suzuki and Naito, are the only two people to turn the Pinoy back, both by way of submission.

Back in 2016, Pacio, then just two fights into his ONE Championship career, challenged then-champion Naito for the ONE strawweight world title. While Pacio held his own for three rounds, one mistake in the fourth frame gave Naito the opening he needed to get the submission win.

In 2017, Pacio, who was riding high after a big win over former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, ran into submission ace Suzuki in Macau, who overpowered the Filipino for the first round stoppage.

Now, ‘The Passion’ is riding another two-fight winning streak, and would like to test himself once more against the two Japanese submission specialists.

“Oo, gusto ko pa silang makaharap,” Pacio admitted. “Tignan ko kung nag-improve yung sarili ko.”

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