ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio taking title loss to Yosuke Saruta as a learning experience
Santino Honasan on Jan 20, 2019 12:04 PM
"Motivated ako na bumalik ulit, hindi na ako makapag-hintay na mag-training ulit and bumalik sa cage." - Joshua Pacio
For just the third time in his young career, Filipino mixed martial artist Joshua "The Passion" Pacio found himself on the losing end, as he dropped a split decision to Japan's Yosuke Saruta in the main event of Saturday's ONE: Eternal Glory card in Jakarta, Indonesia.
This time around however, Pacio not only lost the fight, but also lost his ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Saruta, the Japanese veteran who just a little over a month ago made his ONE debut and toppled former champion Alex Silva, was indeed the well-rounded challenger that Pacio anticipated.
The former Shooto champion was relentless in his takedown attempts and was largely successful in bringing the now-former champion down to the mat.
Pacio was able to impose his striking, landing a number of hard kicks and backfists, but at the end of 25 minutes, it was Saruta who was the winner on two of the three judges' scorecards.
"Agree man o hindi, kailangan mag-agree, kasi yun ang decision ng ONE Championship," Pacio told the media after the bout. "Next time na lalaban ulit, kailangan talagang convincing yung panalo."
The 23-year old Team Lakay standout says that he's aware of his shortcomings in this loss, which snaps a four-fight streak.
"Alam ko yung mga pagkukulang ko doon, parang naging sobrang defensive ako, siya yung forward ng forward. Hindi ko alam kung mas-marami akong tinama or mas marami siyang tinama. Oo, naka-takedown nga siya, pero hindi naman niya ako na-control ng matagal."
While Pacio admits that Saruta's experience played a bit of a factor, he maintains that had he been more active in the final round, it may have swayed the decision to his favor.
"Sa tingin ko oo naging factor [yung experience], pero nasa sa akin din yun eh. Kung medyo nag-work pa ako ng kaunti dun sa laban, siguro sa akin napunta yung decision."
"Dun sa last round na ‘yun, na-control ako, nagpa-pound siya. Sa tingin ko dun lumamang siya," he continued.
Instead of taking the loss as a negative, the young star is looking at it as a learning experience. Pacio says that he's now even more motivated to improve get his title back.
"Para sa akin, ‘tong laban na to ay napaka-laking experience para sa akin, learning experience. Sa tingin ko, marami pa akong kakainin, pero masa lalong motivated ako na mag-training and i-improve yung weaknesses ko, offense, defense, lahat."
"Motivated ako na bumalik ulit, hindi na ako makapag-hintay na mag-training ulit and bumalik sa cage," he added.
Saruta stated that he was indeed willing to give Pacio a rematch, and the former champion was all for it.
"Okay din sa rematch, gusto ko. Mag-hahanda talaga ako, para sa sunod na rematch namin, convincing."