ONE strawweight champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio is banking on hometown support when he battles a hungry top-ranked competitor in ONE Championship’s return to the Philippines.
Pacio and no. 1 strawweight Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks will settle their score in the main event of ONE 164 when the organization returns to the Mall of Asia Arena on December 3.
It will mark the promotion’s return to the country for the first time since January of 2020, where Pacio defeated Alex Silva in front of jampacked crowd to retain his strap over the Brazilian grappling legend.
“I’m very, very excited for this fight. I’m even more excited now that ONE Championship is coming back to the Philippines after more than two years,” he said.
“The energy and excitement are just different in Manila, with the thousands of Filipino fans screaming in the stadium. It really gives us extra motivation to perform at our best. I’m very proud to be a Filipino and I want to make the Filipino fans proud.”
Competing in his home country seems to bring out the best in Pacio. After all, he has never tasted defeat at home, going 7-0 in his ONE Championship fights here.
Since last competing in the Philippines, Pacio defended his title in a closed door event in Singapore, ending his trilogy with Yosuke Saruta in style by knocking out his Japanese rival in just the first round.
Pacio described competing in closed doors as a virtual sparring session as they fought without the presence of live fans.
That’s why he believes that having the support of fans in his match against Brooks will be a big boost for him.
“Now that things are starting to open up again, and we’re able to have fans watch the fights, it’s starting to get really exciting. I can’t wait to be back in the Circle and defend my belt,” he said.