After dominating Saruta, Pacio eyes another trilogy vs Naito
MANILA, Philippines—Joshua Pacio has just ended his trilogy against Japanese rival Yosuke Saruta and yet he’s already looking for another three-part series with former champion Yoshitaka Naito.
ONE Championship’s most dominant strawweight fittingly punctuated his rivalry against Saruta after stopping the ex-titlist to retain his strap in ONE: Revolution Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The 25-year-old Pacio, who’s beaten every former titleholder in his division, now eyes another go-around against another Japanese veteran Naito, the first man to ever beat him.
Naito first met Pacio in October 2016, promptly submitting the then 20-year-old challenger to retain the strawweight belt.
Pacio and Naito met again 23 months later with the Baguio City fighter getting his redemption and the title.
“I just want to prove to a lot of people saying trilogy fights are the curse for Team Lakay, I broke that saying tonight and I want to do that again in a trilogy with Naito,” said Pacio as he also took a shot at his stable’s critics.
“I think if ONE will give me the no.2-ranked fighter, that is Naito, it will be a trilogy again.”
Team Lakay hasn’t been the most productive gym when it comes to trilogies in ONE Championship with former champions Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, and Eduard Folayang falling in the three-fight cappers against their rivals Adriano Moraes, Bibiano Fernandes, and Shinya Aoki, respectively.
Pacio’s victory, thus, broke Lakay’s trilogy curse and he did in emphatic fashion.
After a brief feeling out process, Pacio caught Saruta’s low kick and countered it with a stinging right overhand and eventually landing 12 more punches before referee Justin Brown stopped the bout 3:38 into the first round.
“It’s an amazing feeling to get the win and the finish,” said Pacio.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.