Pacio, Pinoys eye sweep in Fire & Fury

PROTAGONISTS. One Championship fighters led by reigning strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio vowed to go all out heading into tonight’s Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena. (ONE Championship photo)

DESPITE a stiff challenge from a former world titlist, reigning ONE Championship strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio vowed to go all out in his second title defense in the main event of ONE: Fire & Fury tonight at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Pacio will face off with challenger Alex Silva an intriguing battle of exciting finishers with very different, but well-rounded wushu and BJJ skills.

“Last year was a great year for me. Despite losing my title, I was able to gain it back and also put in some great wins against tough opponents. I feel very comfortable fighting here at home in the Philippines. I’m unbeaten here, and it’s because of all the support from the fans,” said Pacio.

The Team Lakay fighter also welcomed Silva’s challenge saying it’s a privilege to face such a great competitor against a former world champion.

“He’s a former world champion and has excellent BJJ, so this will be a huge challenge for me. I’m ready to face it,” added Pacio.

Silva meanwhile it has been a long two year journey to get back into title contention while appreciating the support and respect the fans have given him here in the Philippines.

“I’m happy to be given another shot. For me, the harder the path the better because it helps me improve as a fighter. Joshua is a young and well-rounded athlete, and I have a lot of respect for him. But I believe this is my time now,” Silva said.

In the co-main event, Eduard Folayang starts his climb back to title contention when he takes on Pieter Buist.

“I want to start the year on a high note, with a statement-making victory. I’m hungrier than ever before to make another run at the world title. The last-minute change of opponent is fine, I’ve been in this situation before,” the 2-time ONE lightweight world champion stated.

Folayang added the change in opponent is a good test for his adaptability with Buist seen to push him to the limits.

Danny Kingad, Lito Adiwang and Gina Iniong completes the Team Lakay quintet in the Manila fight card while Jomari Torres will be the sixth Filipino to compete in the stacked fight card.

Kingad said after making it to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix last year, it really helped him a lot in terms of gaining the experience of competing against the best in the world.

“I learned a lot the past year, and I’ve grown so much as a martial artist and as a competitor in this sport. I feel like I’m more disciplined now as an athlete, and I am laser focused on getting better. I plan to showcase all the new skills I learned in this next fight,” Kingad said who will take on Xie Wei.

Adiwang, meanwhile, guns for another impressive victory against Pongsiri Mitsatit even as Iniong returns to the circle taking on Asha Roka.

“Asha Roka is as tough as they come. She proved that against a tough champion in Stamp Fairtex. I’m looking forward to giving my best this Friday night and meeting the challenge of this great martial artist,” Iniong said.

Torres, on the other hand, will take on a dangerous Jenny Huang.


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