Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of Baguio City, Philippines is now the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion. Representing Team Lakay, the Filipino mixed martial artist dethroned former champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Matsudo, Chiba, Japan at “ONE: Conquest of Heroes.”
On September 22, 2018, Pacio and Naito headlined “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. After five five-minute rounds, the Filipino challenger defeated the defending champion via unanimous decision.
While Pacio did impose his will on standup department, it was his ground defense that ultimately may have secured him the championship. He did a good job of defending takedowns in the early rounds, but Naito eventually managed to take the Filipino down.
Still, Pacio managed to stifle any attempts at offense that Naito attempted. The Team Lakay fighter said, “Yes, he did manage to take me down but I kept him from passing my guard and gaining any positional advantage.”
“Even if he scored the takedown, if he couldn’t pass guard or move into a better and more advantageous position, he wouldn’t be able to score any points because he was just stuck in guard,” Pacio said of Naito. “While on top, he was punching me a bit but I was answering back with some elbows of my own so I believe it was a close fight on the ground.”
Pacio made sure to stay busy even on his back. He managed to punish Naito with strikes from the bottom position.
“Standing up, Naito was able to tag me a few times,” Pacio explained. “So it shows that he really worked on his striking as well.”
By capturing the ONE Strawweight World Champion belt, Pacio became the third member of Team Lakay to become a ONE World Champion in 2018. The first two are reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, of Baguio City and reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30, of Kiangan, Ifugao, Philippines.
Here is a recap of “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” from Michael Schiavello and Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson: