ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio wants to achieve something he was not able to do in the past – defend his World Title.
The Team Lakay prodigy takes on compatriot Rene “The Challenger” Catalan for Pacio’s World Title in the main event of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila on 8 November.
This is the second run at being a World Champion for “The Passion,” and this time he hopes to hold the position for a long time.
His first reign was cut short by Yosuke “Ninja” Saruta, but he quickly reclaimed his throne in April when he knocked out the Japanese athlete in their rematch at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR in Manila.
Knowing the importance of defending the World Title for his legacy, the 23-year-old is out to protect the gold at all costs.
“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 strong momentum entering 2020,” Pacio 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.”
The man who will be facing “The Passion” next month might be the hottest athlete in ONE Championship today.
Catalan has won his last six bouts in impressive fashion, making up for his 0-2-1 start in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Outside of the Circle, the 40-year-old’s resume is even more impressive. He has won gold medals in wushu at the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, and Asian Championships.
For the Baguio City hero, he expects nothing short of a war when he takes on one of the most decorated Filipino mixed martial artists outside of their famed stable.
“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,” the Team Lakay athlete said.
“I’m also happy for 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.”
While there are a lot of things to watch out for in this explosive affair, do not be surprised to see a much more confident Pacio.
“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,” the ONE Strawweight World Champion 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.”
ONE Championship returns in less than two weeks with ONE: DAWN OF VALOR on 25 October at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Home Of Martial Arts then returns to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on 8 November.
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