(James Goyder is the owner/editor of AsianMMA.com)
Joshua Pacio remains the strawweight champion after a split-decision win over Alex Silva in Manila. The Filipino squeezed past the Brazilian challenger in the main event of ONE: Fire & Fury at the MOA Arena.
Silva pulled guard almost immediately in the opening round, but Pacio quickly sprang back up. The Brazilian was pushing constantly for the takedown and ate a couple of low kicks before getting the fight back down.
The BJJ black belt was in top position, but couldn’t capitalize as Pacio looked for a guillotine. In the second stanza, Pacio briefly found himself in top position, but the challenger was able to reverse after a scramble only for the champion to immediately get back to his feet.
Silva caught a kick, took Pacio down and sunk in a head and arm choke. He moved into mount, but the Filipino’s submission defense was on point and he was able to slip his head out and regain guard with the Brazilian trying for a leg lock as the round ended.
In the fourth, Pacio landed a few low kicks and straight punches. A head kick from Silva found its mark, but had no effect whatsoever on the champion, who was taken down again but scrambled to escape and finished the round on his feet.
A flying knee from Pacio at the star of the final round seemed to find its mark, but Silva immediately responded with a takedown. After returning to his feet, the champion landed a spinning back kick and a low kick, but was taken down again although he never looked anything other than comfortable on his back.
It was a difficult fight to score with Pacio able to completely nullify the submission game of the Brazilian without ever doing any real damage in the striking exchanges. In the end, two of the three judges voted for the Filipino who improves to 17-3, while the Brazilian drops to 9-5.
In the co-main event, Pacio’s Team Lakay training partner Eduard Folayang found himself on the wrong end of a split decision. The Filipino was beaten by late replacement Pieter Buist, who landed a head kick in the third round that probably caught the judge’s eye.
Folayang had been the busier of the two fighters in the first two rounds, but faded down the stretch. The Dutchman improves to 17-4, while the two-time lightweight champion drops to 22-9 and will have to put his ambitions for a third title tilt on the backburner.
ONE: Fire & Fury results
- Joshua Pacio def. Alex Silva via Decision (Split) retains strawweight title
- Pieter Buist def. Eduard Folayang via Decision (Split)
- Danny Kingad def. Xie Wei via Decision (Unanimous)
- Muay Thai: Petchdam Petchyindeeacademy def. Momotaro via Decision (Unanimous)
- Shoko Sato def. Kwon Won Il via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:05
- Tatsumitsu Wada def. Ivanildo Delfino via Decision (Unanimous)
- Muay Thai: Anne Line Hogstad def. Alma Juniku via Decision (Unanimous)
- Lito Adiwang def. Pongsiri Mitsatit via submission (Kimura) – Round 1, 3:02
- Gina Iniong def. Asha Roka via Decision (Unanimous)
- Muay Thai: Rodlek PKSaenchaigym def Chris Shaw via Decision (Unanimous)
- Jenny Huang vs. Jomary Torres ends in No Contest