Joshua “The Passion” Pacio admitted that there is some added pressure to perform in his rematch with Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta for the coveted ONE Strawweight World Title.
Surely for him, it comes with the territory.
The two will be going at it once again, this time in Pacio’s home country of the Philippines, as both are slated to face each other in the co-main event of ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR on 12 April at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
While not much has changed when it comes to Pacio’s approach entering the second match with Saruta, he admits to having a bit of added pressure in performing in his home soil.
“It’s pretty much the same, I’m excited and even more motivated because the rematch will happen here in the Philippines,” he shared.
“I must admit that there’s a bit of an added pressure on my part to perform, but at the same time, the hunger and the will to win far outweighs that.”
If there is any pressure for Pacio when he performs here in the Philippines, then it surely does not show.
The last time that Pacio had a match in the Philippines was at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in July 2018 when he scored a highlight-reel submission finish.
Showcasing his evolution into a complete and creative mixed martial artist, Pacio grounded Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit, mounted his back, and went for a rear-naked choke.
However, after his attempt failed, he switched gears. Pacio grabbed his adversary’s left arm for a modified kimura, and applied immense pressure.
Mitsatit could not survive for long, and soon tapped to the move that would be called “The Passion Lock.”
Pacio hopes to carry that same fire in the rematch with Saruta, especially now that he is coming in as a challenger with a lot to prove.
“I hope to showcase the things that I wasn’t able to show last January,” he stated.
“I need to be more aggressive, especially being the challenger. I’m hungry to prove myself again and bounce back.”
Although he was confident that he should have won the last time they battled, Pacio knows better than to come in too confident against the well-rounded Japanese.
Pacio noted that Saruta’s game continues to evolve, evident when the Japanese spitfire brought up new things that he did not showcase in his win over former ONE World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in December 2018.
“I don’t want to be overconfident. In his fight with Alex Silva, he had no elbows in his arsenal, but when we faced each other, he shocked me with those,” he said.
“We should always expect new things from him.”