AFTER a long hiatus, ONE Championship strawweight king Joshua Pacio defends his title against former champion and nemesis Yosuke Saruta in a trilogy in one of the featured fights of ONE – “Revolution” on Sept. 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
Pacio, the last remaining Pinoy champion in the organization, hopes to finally end his rivalry with Saruta by beating him again on Friday night.
The 25-year-old Pacio first fought Saruta in 2019 and lost via a split decision in his first title defense. But he bounced back and defeated Saruta in their rematch, a few months later, with a fourth round knockout.
After their rematch, Pacio had two successful title defenses against countryman Rene Catalan and former ONE strawweight champion Alex Silva.
Since his loss to Pacio, the 34-year-old Saruta also logged two straight wins, one against Daichi Kitakata and the other against former ONE strawweight titleholder Yoshitaka Naito.
Pacio, who fights out of the dreaded Team Lakay of Baguio City, is 19-3, while Saruta is 21-9-3.
Pacio’s teammate, Lito Adiwang (12-3), is also seeing action in the undercard against Chinese warrior Hexigetu (9-4).
Adiwang is one of the fastest-rising strawweights. His quick rise hit a snag after a controversial split decision loss to Hiroba Minowa in 2020. He, however, bounced back with a rousing second round knockout of Namiki Kawahara.
Hexigetu is riding a three-fight winning streak. His latest win was a split decision over former ONE strawweight titlist Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in 2020.
Cebuano Roel “Akiyama” Rosauro (5-3) faces newcomer James Yang in the show’s curtain raiser.
Rosauro, who fights out of Survival MMA in Cebu City, is coming out of a 20-month layoff. He last saw action against Yohan Mulia Legowo, who he beat by unanimous decision.
Yang, in the meantime, transitioned to the pro ranks after an impressive run in the amateur level by going unbeaten in six fights. He trains at AMC Pankration along with former long-time UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. (EKA)