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Philippines to produce world champions again with new generation of fighters, says ONE CEO

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Philippines to produce world champions again with new generation of fighters, says ONE CEO
Jhanlo Sangiao
ONE Championship

MANILA, Philippines — ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong expressed his belief that the Philippines will bounce back in his promotion, after Joshua Pacio yielded the last remaining world championship held by the country to Jarred Brooks in ONE 164 at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday night.

Erstwhile the owners of five world championship belts, the Philippines now holds none with all former titlists having failed to keep their straps.

Pacio ended a three-year reign as strawweight champion in a unanimous decision loss to Brooks, while former champions like Eduard Folayang, Brandon Vera, and Geje Eustaquio all absorbed losses in the card as well. Vera even announced his retirement from MMA.

For Sityodtong, it's simply a sign that time has finally caught up with Philippine MMA's pioneers.

"You know, I'll tell you that's life for all of us. Time, nobody beats Father Time." said Sityodtong after the fights.

"And it does look like they're passing the torch." he added.

Despite relinquishing the championship belt, the Philippines had a glimmer of hope in the stacked card as youngsters like Jhanlo Sangiao and Jeremy Pacatiw were able to eke out big wins that turned into US$50,000 bonuses as well from Sityodtong.

Seeing a new breed of fighters, particularly from famed Baguio stable Team Lakay, Sityodtong believes that it will only be a short time that the Philippines will be without a world champion.

"When you look at Filipino MMA at the world's highest level, a guy like Jhanlo, a guy like Stephen Loman, you know, these are kids and that's the next generation. In the future, the Philippines are gonna produce world champions again." said Sityodtong.

Sangiao, son of Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, was one who stepped up to the challenge in particular. After going 5-0 in his professional MMA career, he expressed desire to bring back glory to the Philippines and Team Lakay.

"We don't have any belts anymore but that's not the end. We are here, we are rising. We'll do our best to get back, not only four, but more belts." said Sangiao.

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