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Joshua “The Passion” Pacio displayed huge improvement in his grappling and ground defense to score a split decision victory and defend his strawweight title for the second straight time against Alex “Little Rock” Silva during ONE: Fire & Fury on January 31, 2020 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
See full results of Pinoy fighters here: Pacio tows Team Lakay to a good 2020 take off
Pacio’s defense against the grappling were immediately put to test as Silva tried get the fight to the ground as soon as the first round bell rang.
Pacio, however, masterfully thwarted his takedown attempts for the rest of the round. Silva got to his leg thrice but Pacio ended up on the dominant position twice and escaped the third as the bell sounded.
Pacio also made his intentions clear as he allowed the action to be back on their feet even though he is occupying the dominant position on the mat.
It paid off early as Pacio connected hard hits, among them uppercuts, high and low kicks, a knee to the gut, and a spinning kick to set the tone.
Silva eventually got the fight to the mat early in the second but the Team Lakay’s only remaining ONE champion escaped by a kickout and executed a counter takedown.
Just like in the first, he allowed Silva to get back on his feet despite having dominant position and fired a spinning backkick that found its target.
He was clipped again when Silva caught his leg off a misfired highkick but the Brazilian couldn’t get any submission move going through Pacio’s excellent mat defense till the end of the round.
Pacio dominated the first 3:30 of the third with leg kick, jab and uppercut connections before being wrestled to the mat off a lock.
He was able to get the action back up but had to eat a Silva knee in the process.
He recovered nicely with kicks to the side and the head before the bell sounded.
The warriors went at it on a striking during the first 25 minutes of the fourth with Pacio slightly winning the exchanges by connecting the more blows.
Silva, as usual, went for Pacio’s leg but it was Pacio who ended gaining dominant position again. This time, he held fort, firing short punches to the head, until Silva forced him back on his feet with the referee subsequently restarting the action at the 2:20 mark.
After exchanging blows, Silva successfully brought the fight to the ground again. Both fighters exchanged possession of the dominant position until the bell rang.
Round five starts with a Pacio explosion as he landed a jumping knee squarely of the face of Silva but had to sacrifice being brought down by yet another takedown.
Pacio worked his way back to his feet by another kickout, and connected a turning kick at the 2:00 minute mark.
He was taken to the floor once more but no significant damages ensued until the final bell sounded.
Two of the three judges gave their nod for “The Passion” and allowed him to retain his title by the thinnest margin.
The win hiked Pacio’s MMA fight record to 17-3 while dropping Silva’s to 9-5.
It is also Pacio 7th win in his last eight fights, a stretch that started after his submission loss to Hayato Suzuki on August 5, 2017.
By: Armando M. Bolislis
Photo by ONE Championship