ONE Championship: Pacio sees title bout with Catalan as another historic night

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 21, 2019 10:38 AM
Pacio sees title bout with Catalan as another historic night
“I’m happy with this match-up. It only goes to show how MMA in the Philippines continues to grow. For me it’s a big a privilege to be a part of this historic face-off, as two Filipinos face each other for the World Title – and it’s against a decorated veteran, no-less,” - Joshua Pacio

ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio sees his upcoming clash with Rene “The Challenger” Catalan as proof of the continuous growth of Philippine mixed martial arts. 

The Team Lakay star defends the ONE Strawweight World Title when he takes on the battle-tested Catalan in an all-Filipino main event at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila on 8 November.

Though the relationship between the two camps have been testy, Pacio still holds Catalan in high regard. 

“I’m happy with this match-up. It only goes to show how MMA in the Philippines continues to grow. For me it’s a big a privilege to be a part of this historic face-off, as two Filipinos face each other for the World Title – and it’s against a decorated veteran, no-less,” Pacio said. 

Looking at this match-up, the 23-year-old knows that he is up for a tough night against the pride of Iloilo City who has won his last six bouts in impressive fashion. 

The 40-year-old wushu specialist has had an amazing turnaround after starting his ONE Championship run with a record of 0-2-1. Through hard work and his desire to keep on improving, Catalan proved that anything is possible. 

“I think we’re evenly matched. Kuya Rene’s sanda background is his bread and butter while he has also improved a lot in his wrestling and grappling.” 

Now in his second run as World Champion, the Baguio City native hopes to hold the gold for a lot longer than he did the first time around. 

“The Passion” failed to defend his belt against Yosuke “Ninja” Saruta earlier this year, though he quickly reclaimed it with a knockout with over the Japanese athlete in their rematch at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR in April in Manila. 

“I’m really happy to be given a chance to defend this belt. The last time, I wasn’t so fortunate and I lost it. This time I will do everything to successfully defend it and to have a strong momentum entering 2020,” the ONE Strawweight World Champion said. 

“I’m also happy to fight here in the Philippines again, although I’m facing a fellow Filipino, but what we’re doing is for the country and this is a very historic night for the Philippines.”

Pacio does not want to lose his belt again, and he promises to come in even more confident than last time. 

“I’ve really stepped-up on my training for this match and I’ll make sure to show it on November 8 and make sure I go home still a World Champion,” Pacio said. 

“One thing is for sure, this is the best you’ll see of me. An upgrade, a real confident one who believes in himself.”

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