Joshua Pacio vs. Yosuke Saruta 3 Preview
ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio and Yosuke Saruta collide in one of the three World Championship main events slated for the massive event later in September. The two outstanding strawweights have split their series at one match apiece, and the trilogy matchup will attempt to bring a definitive end to one of the most exciting rivalries in the sport.
Their first meeting came at ONE: Eternal Glory in January 2019. The Japanese challenger squeaked by the Team Lakay representative with a split decision in what was Pacio’s first title defense.
Due to how razor-thin the battle was, an immediate rematch was booked for ONE: Roots Of Honor.
In the rematch, Joshua Pacio took control in the championship rounds and ended the bout with a highlight-reel head kick that saw “The Passion’s” knee collide with Saruta’s head. The impact caused “The Ninja” to face plant and put the gold back around Pacio’s waist.
Since their 2019 series split, both men have put on memorable performances leading into their third meeting.
Pacio added two title defenses to his record by submitting Rene Catalan and besting Alex Silva over five hard-fought rounds. Saruta dispatched Daichi Kitakata by knockout and took a unanimous decision against Yoshitaka Naito.
Their paths were always going to cross again. The elite strawweights have moved in sync to set up this trilogy bout which could be the best match of an incredibly stacked event.
Saruta has not minced words ahead of the match. The Japanese star told ONE, “I will show him hell. I will drag him to the bottom of the sea.”
His expectation that this will be a war is well-founded, given they have already put in nearly nine rounds of work inside the Circle. Saruta must prepare for five rounds of attrition as Pacio has shown the ability to continue his output well into the championship rounds.
The 25-year-old Filipino has cardio for days. It has been one of his biggest assets during his rise, and it continues to carry him as the World Champion.
These are two well-matched opponents with well-rounded skill sets. Their prior meetings have shown there is minimal separation between the two, and a back-and-forth battle is to be expected. That’s precisely what championship bouts are supposed to be at this level.
Trilogy bouts are always exciting when the series has been split. The athletes and the fans get a conclusion to lingering questions. Trilogy bouts are even more exciting when the past matches have thrilled audiences, as Pacio and Saruta have done thus far.
There are high expectations for this championship showdown, and the ONE Strawweight World Championship only adds more anticipation to the clash between the two warriors. Pacio vs. Saruta III could steal that show.
ONE: Revolution airs across all Bleacher Report platforms at 6:30 a.m. EST/3:30 a.m. PST on Friday, September 24.
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