Rene Catalan sees long reign for ONE strawweight champ Joshua Pacio
MANILA, Philippines—Joshua Pacio retained his strawweight world title when he stopped fellow Filipino Rene Catalan in the second round in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate Friday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
It was Pacio’s first title defense since regaining the belt, which Catalan doesn’t see changing hands anytime soon as long as he stays healthy and determined.
“He will reign long. He is still young, he’s just 23 and if he remains disciplined, he will reach even bigger heights,” Catalan said.
“I just hope he stays injury free and he remains disciplined because I see him holding the belt for a long time.”
Catalan has reason to believe Pacio will remain the king of the strawweight division for as long as he strives to after competing against him inside the ring.
The 40-year-old Catalan nearly had Pacio into a submission in the first round but only to be a witness to the Team Lakay star’s resiliency.
“I was really planning to get that heel hook and leg lock, that’s where I was trying to get the submission,” Catalan said.
“I heard his ankle snap three times, but he just stayed on it. He was really strong, that’s what surprised me. He was really determined, and his fighting spirit is really impressive.”
Catalan, who saw his six-fight streak come to an end, hopes to get another crack at the world title against Pacio.
“I know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to MMA,“ Catalan said. “I got motivated to train more. Pacio is the king of the division and I was there with him.”
“I’m gonna come in even more confident the next time out because I feel like Pacio is the strongest in the division.”