ONE fight night re­cap: Champ de­fends his belt

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - ELI MEIXLER e.meixler@mm­

THOUGH all eyes were on Aung La Nsang at ONE Cham­pi­onship’s State of War­riors on Oc­to­ber 7, the rest of the card pro­vided plenty of ac­tion to a grow­ing con­tin­gent of Myan­mar MMA fans.

After “The Burmese Python” dis­patched his op­po­nent Michal Paster­nak (see page 24 for full Aung La Nsang fight re­cap), fans had a chance to see ONE Strawweight world cham­pion Yoshi­taka Naito de­fend his belt against Filip­pino chal­lenger Joshua Pa­cio of Team Lakay.

Nick­named “No­bita” after an manga-car­toon char­ac­ter, Naito en­tered the ring to an an­i­ma­tion mon­tage and wear­ing a yel­low polo and pro­pel­ler cap. The 32-year-old sub­mis­sion spe­cial­ist was any­thing but cute in the cage, how­ever.

Pa­cio, just 20 years old, nim­bly avoided Naito’s ini­tial take­down at­tempts to land a flurry of ra­zor-sharp wushu strikes through two strong rounds. But by the third, he had tired out his shoul­der, heft­ing off-bal­ance right hooks and spin­ning kicks that didn’t find the mark, while the sea­soned cham­pion, who en­tered with 11 vic­to­ries, calmly worked Pa­cio with body blows.

The end came sud­denly, just 1 minute, 33 sec­onds into the third round – Naito spun the Filip­pino for­mer kickboxer to his knees be­fore leap­ing be­hind him and achiev­ing an un­break­able rear naked choke hold that forced Pa­cio to tap out.

“This is def­i­nitely my best fight,” Naito said in the cage after see­ing off Pa­cio’s chal­lenge. “I just did what I came to do. I showed Myan­mar what I can do, all my skills, and I won,” he added.

Read be­low for a re­cap of the rest of the Oc­to­ber 7 State of War­riors fight card.

Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

ONE strawweight cham­pion Yoshi­taka Naito en­ters the cage in his “No­bita” getup – com­plete with pro­pel­ler cap – ahead of his fight against Filip­pino chal­lenger Joshua Pa­cio.

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