ONE: Joshua Pacio wary of 'explosive, cautious' Japanese foe in first title defense | Inquirer Sports

ONE: Joshua Pacio wary of ‘explosive, cautious’ Japanese foe in first title defense

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:16 PM January 16, 2019

Joshua Pacio is wary of what kind of fighter his opponent Yosuke Saruta is ahead of their world title bout in ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Pacio knows he could be in for a dogfight in just his first title defense just four months after taking the strawweight strap from another Japanese in Yoshitaka Naito.

“I don’t see any weaknesses in Saruta. The more well-rounded mixed martial artist capable of mixing up strikes and takedowns would end up winning this bout. It’s just a matter of who gets to land first,” Pacio said.

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“He mostly throws crosses and hooks, so I have to try to counter with straight punches and mix my kicks properly.”

Saruta may be a replacement fighter after Naito, who was supposed to clash with Pacio in a title rematch, sustained an injury, but he propelled himself to contender status following his stunning victory over Brazilian grappling specialist Alex Silva a month ago.

The 31-year-old Saruta (18-8) beat Silva, a former strawweight titleholder, by unanimous decision.

“Saruta is a well-rounded athlete, I watched his bout against Alex Silva. He has power in his punches and has good offensive and defensive wrestling,” Pacio (13-2) said.

“He is both explosive and cautious. He’s not the type who would just move forward because he has good timing and can wait to cleanly land his power punches.”

The Team Lakay star also believes Saruta deserved his title shot despite being only in his second fight in ONE.

“He was a champion in another organization, who just defeated a former world champion in his ONE Championship debut. He is without a doubt one of the best in this division.”

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TAGS: Joshua Pacio, MMA, ONE, One Championship, strawweight, Team Lakay, Yoshitaka Naito, Yosuke Saruta
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