ONE fight night recap: Champ defends his belt
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.
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.