ONE championship to feature two unbeaten strawweight fighters in title bout
THOUGH local fans will undoubtedly be focused on hometown hero Aung La Nsang, the headline fight at the upcoming ONE Championship fight card on October 7 carries a rare pedigree sure to attract attention of its own.
The main event features two undefeated fighters, pitting reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito (11-0-0) of Chiba, Japan, against challenger Joshua Pacio (8-0-0) of Baguio City, Philippines, in a battle for the strawweight title.
The 32-year old Naito captured the belt with a submission victory over former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in May. Amnuaysirichoke, a muay thai specialist, delivered a slew of vicious strikes throughout the first three rounds, but the Japanese challenger battled past his blows to take him to ground. There, he managed to deploy a rear naked choke toward the end of the fourth round in a scheduled fiveround title fight.
It was Naito’s first and only appearance inside a ONE Championship cage, and he’ll face another tough test as roles reverse and a new challenger appears to dethrone the champ. Pacio has won two straight in the ONE cages, and as the youngest member of Baguio City’s renowned Team Lakay MMA, the 20-year-old is expected to give Naito all he can handle.
After turning professional in 2013, Pacio went on a six-fight win streak to start his career in various MMA promotions. He caught the attention of ONE Championship with his aggressive style, making his promotional debut in April.
The Filipino says he got into MMA due to heavy influence from his family, which includes a former kickboxer. The family member introduced him to muay thai, and soon after, Pacio had joined Team Lakay and begun studying wushu and MMA.
Naito has 12 years over Pacio, which makes the matchup a highly anticipated showdown between veteran and prospect, and one that is compelling nonetheless. The key may be whether Pacio can use his strength in the Chinese disciplines of wushu to overcome Naito’s strength on the ground. Though five of his eight victories have come via submission, he’s relied on consistently accurate striking to weaken his opponents in the past. – Staff
Joshua Pacio of Baguio City, Philippines, will take his undefeated record to Yangon on October 7 to vie for the strawweight title.
Strawweight champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito delivers a rear naked chokehold to win the title earlier this year. He hopes to defend that title against Pacio.