Pacio’s 3-year reign ends as Brooks snags strawweight title

By Jun Ray Navarres

Joshua Pacio failed to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship belt against Jarred Brooks in an all-out war at the Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday night.

Pacio and Brooks used up all five rounds duking each other out but the American challenger clearly set the tone for the whole night, earning him the unanimous decision win and Team Lakay’s last world championship belt.

Brooks wasted no time in his quest to the throne, quickly turning the fight into a ground game. Yet, Pacio managed to hold him down skillfully, deflecting every elbow and short punches that the American threw.

The fight went into stalemate when Brooks tried to take down Pacio again with The Passion denying him successfully. Brooks was quick on his feet, making use of the space and circling Pacio as much as possible on the stand-up.

Brooks managed to land a few of his combinations but Pacio seemed to be unfazed, even smiling at the end of the second round.

A battle of patience ensued at the third round when both fighters became wary of each other’s counter potential, only throwing calculated strikes.

However, Brooks clearly has the better timing accuracy combined with his nimbleness.

A similar scenario happened at the fourth round but this time, Pacio mixed in feints to manage to land his own combinations.

Brooks succeeded in forcing a wrestling match off a miss-timed kick by Pacio, gaining the Filipino champion’s back on the process.

Pacio escaped danger after Brooks only securing the rear-naked choke with less than 15sec left on the clock of the fourth round – time was not on his side.

Pacio was not able to capitalize off a missed flying knee of Brooks on the start of the final round. Brooks initiated one last ground tussle but was unsuccessful in submitting Pacio.

Despite the heated exchange of words before the fight, Brooks showed his respect to the fabled stable.

“Utmost respect to Joshua and Team Lakay,” said Brooks after the fight.

“I love the Filipino people. I know I’ve been the heel in the last few fights, but I’m a good person.”

Brooks stayed true to his words, taking home the ONE Strawweight World Championship belt to the USA.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports

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