NBA
Pacio gets back at Naito, takes ONE crown
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Joshua Pacio unseated Japanese Yoshitaka Naito via a unanimous decision as he snared the strawweight crown in ONE: Conquest of Heroes at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia Saturday night.

Pacio, 22, used his striking skills and a much-improved ground game to overwhelm Naito and carve out the victory and emerge the third Team Lakay fighter to claim a title after flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio and interim bantamweight titlist Kevin Belingon.

Pacio also exacted revenge on Naito, who beat the former via submission (rear-naked choke) in their first duel in Yangon, Myanmar two years ago.

The Filipino striker thus improved to 16-2 (win-loss) while dealing Naito his second defeat against 13 triumphs.

After the fight, the Baguio-based Pacio dedicated his victory to his countrymen hit by Typhoon “Ompong” last week.

“Last week, typhoons struck Baguio City, Benguet and the Cordilleras. A lot of places were hit hard. Many people died and some are still missing. This is for all of them,” said Pacio. “I know that the Cordilleras will come back and rise again soon as one.”

Pacio connected on a left punch to body in the first round to shake Naito, who however countered and sent the former to the ground.

In the second round, Pacio continued to take advantage of his superior striking game against Naito’s ground and pound game.

Naito came out the more aggressive fighter in the third round and deliberately wrestled Pacio down and then fed from it in the fourth that saw the Japanese go for the Filipino’s foot.

Naito appeared ready to duplicate his submission win in their previous faceoff but Pacio came ready and focused on the task this time, displaying solid ground defense to stun the Japanese.

JOSHUA PACIO MIXED MARTIAL ARTS ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES YOSHITAKA NAITO
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