ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio breaks down masterful performance against Rene Catalan at ONE: Masters of Fate

Santino Honasan on Nov 22, 2019 02:07 PM
Pacio breaks down masterful performance against Catalan
“Siyempre, napaka-saya kasi gaya nga nung sabi ko nung sa unang interview, you're not a champion until you defend your belt, so napaka-saya ko kasi na-defend ko successfully.” - Joshua Pacio (Photo: Richard Esguerra)

ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio cemented his status as ONE Championship’s top strawweight after successfully defending his title against compatriot Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate in Manila last November 8th. 

In Catalan, Pacio was facing a challenger that was riding a six-fight winning streak that included an impressive demolition of former two-time titleholder Yoshitaka Naito. 

Still, the 23-year old Team Lakay star imposed his will against Catalan, dominating the striking aspect before getting the Arm-Triangle submission in the second round. It was a performance that further solidified Pacio’s status as the division’s top dog. 

While Pacio was nothing short of dominant against Catalan, he believed that the Pinoy veteran was indeed deserving of a title shot, especially after coming in with an impressive winning streak. 

“Para sa akin, oo naman. Siyempre, nakita ko yung improvements niya. Six-fight winning streak, lalo na nung tinalo niya si Naito, dun talaga ako na-impress,” Pacio stated after the fight. “Naimpress ako dun sa pagka-panalo niya kay Naito, masasabi ko worthy talaga siya na challenger.”

To his credit, Catalan came prepared to test Pacio - arguably one of Team Lakay’s most talented grapplers - on the mats, as he threatened the defending champion with a couple of submission attempts. 

“Nasurprise ako nung nag-heel hook siya,” Pacio admitted. “Sabi niya lumagatok yung paa ko, oo pero baka dahil lang kulang sa stretching, pero hindi talaga ako nakuha doon. Medyo tight yung kneebar, pero sa training, nirereview na namin yun eh. Kunyari nakuha ka sa ganitong posisyon, anong gagawin mo? Wag kang mag-papanic, maghanap ka kung paano ka aalis, so ganun yung ginawa ko, hindi ako nag-panic.”

Pacio tried to counter with a submission of his own, but decided to abandon the attempt after deciding that he would not be able to execute it completely.

“Mali kasi yung posisyon ko eh. Hindi ko din yun makukuha, kaya ako yung unang bumitaw, tapos roll, roll, roll hanggang matanggal,” Pacio explained.

“The Passion” did end up getting the submission later on, which he says was the game plan all along. It was Pacio’s striking however, that got everything going. 

“Submission talaga, pero hindi ko ine-expect na siya yung mag-aattempt ng takedown, kasi nung nag-back kick ako nung round one, nginitian ako, tapos biglang nag-takedown,” Pacio detailed.  “Ay, alam ko na 'to. Wrestler ka na ngayon. Na-feel ko eh. 'Yes, dito na.' sabi ko, siya yung nag-takedown, nag-initiate, mas gusto ko yun, kasi dun pupunta yung gameplan ko.”

It was indeed a masterful performance on the young Lakay’s part, as he successfully defends his title for the first time, something that he wasn’t able to do during his first run as champion. 

“Siyempre, napaka-saya kasi gaya nga nung sabi ko nung sa unang interview, you're not a champion until you defend your belt, so napaka-saya ko kasi na-defend ko successfully.”

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