By Peter Atencio
Jarred Brooks showed his love and respect for Joshua Pacio and Team Lakay after winning by unanimous decision and the strawweight world championship belt before a soldout crowd on Saturday in the ONE 164 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The outspoken American charged Pacio in the final minute of the fifth round and pinned him to the floor to earn the nod of the judges.
“I know I’ve been the heel a lot in these last fights, but I’m a good person and I don’t want anybody to think that I’m not. I love my Filipino people,” said Brooks, also known as the “Monkey God.”
Brooks’ professional win-loss record went to 20-2, with his stunning upset over Pacio and after he stretched his winning streak in ONE Championship to four fights.
With his win, the American now looks forward to defending his crown atop the division in 2023, and with Demetrious Johnson, the reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion, in mind.
“I have the utmost respect for Joshua Pacio and Team Lakay. I know I had some choice words, but I’m just trying to make this fight as well as anybody else,” added Brooks.
An emotional and sobbing Brooks, then thanked the predominantly Filipino crowd for their patience with him, and dedicated his title win to his father.
Brooks was aggressive in the fourth round, as he took Pacio down on the mat with an impressive back-take and for the next 90 seconds, he tried to force the Filipino to tap out on a rear-naked choke.
But Pacio refused to concede as the clock winded down, but he lost the favor of the judges at this point.
Pacio stayed in the locker room after the fight, in deep talks with coach Mark Sangiao.
Three other Filipino fighters have suffered losses in the second half of ONE 164.
This includes flyweight Geje Eustaquio, who took a first-round knockout loss to China’s Hu Yong.
Brandon Vera, a 45-year-old Filipino-American superstar, expressed his decision to retire from the sport after going down to Iran’s Amir Aliakbari via a technical knockout in the first round of their heavyweight encounter.
In the 59.3 kg catchweight, Jenny Olsim took a first-round setback by knockout to Chinese rival Meng Bo.
Meanwhile, bantamweight Jeremy Pacatiw scored his 12th win in 18 fights when he held down Myanmar’s Tial Thang with a deep triangle choke in the second
Jhanlo Sangiao marched to a dominant victory on the lead card, winning by submission in the first round over Anacleto “L.A.” Lauron, who was a replacement fighter for Argentine standout Matias Farinelli in their 70-kilogram catchweight clash.