Team Lakay prospect Joshua Pacio is focused on Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke this Saturday night
After a hard-fought title loss to reigning ONE world strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito last October, it would be an injustice to say that this Saturday’s title eliminator against former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (DSA) is Joshua Pacio’s toughest challenge yet. It is however safe to say that it would be one of the toughest challenges not only of his young career, but possibly its entirety thereof.
Earning his keep in Pro-Am leagues before debuting in ONE Championship last April 2016, fighting in Asia’s largest MMA promotion had something both expected and surprising for Pacio. “Ever since I was in Pro-Am, I had my sights set on ONE [Championship],” Joshua told MMA Philippines in this exclusive. “I knew that once I stepped foot on ONE, I will only be fighting high-level opponents from here on out.” He continued, “ONE is such a big stage for MMA. When I first fought in ONE, the audience was a big difference for me. Paglabas ko sa entrance papunta sa cage, grabe ang dami at lakas ng sigaw ng mga tao! (When I walked out towards the cage, the volume of people and their cheers were exhilarating!)”
Despite the nerves he may have felt at the time, Pacio quickly racked up two wins at ONE before facing the undefeated Naito. After controlling the fight for two rounds using his range and takedown defense, Pacio fell prey to a rear naked choke which the crafty Japanese converted from a failed takedown attempt.
Team Lakay Goes 5-0 in ONE Championship: Global Rivals
Filipino fight fans were in high spirits as Baguio-based Team Lakay, touted as the country’s most dominant MMA team, completed a successful campaign of five wins against local and international competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last night, April 15, for ONE Championship: Global Rivals.
Geje Eustaquio and Honorio Banario got the nod from the judges in three-round wars against Malaysian prospect Gianni Subba and fellow Filipino Vaughn Donayre, respectively; Joshua Pacio and Danny Kingad impress with referee stoppages; and April Osenio scores the lone technical submission of the evening with a deep armbar on Natalie Gonzales Hills.
Danny Kingad opened the night with with an easy ground-and-pound victory against Muhamad Haidar for his ONE Championship debut. The Lakay new breed handily picked up his Malaysian opponent for a slam, moving from the side to full mount before unleashing a barrage of strikes, prompting referee Olivier Coste to stop the bout at the 2:20 mark.
Danny Kingad defeats Muhamad Haidar in ONE Championship Global Rivals
April Osenio took home British-Filipina Natalie Gonzales Hill’s arm in their women’s atomweight bout. Osenio caught Hills’ arm as the latter took her down; the female Lakay hang on even as the Australian-based “Kilapino” was still on her feet. The stubborn attempts at extending Natalie’s arm finally paid off as both warriors ended up on the ground in somewhat of a North-South position, with April hyper-extending her opponent’s arm and Natalie verbally submitting at 3:23 of the very first round.