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    Pacio falls short of ONE title-retention bid with split-decision loss to Saruta

    Jan 19, 2019
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    JOSHUA Pacio lost his ONE Strawweight Championship via split decision to Yosuke Saruta in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday at Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

    The 23-year-old Igorot titlist fell trap to the Japanese aggressor, with Saruta constantly looking for takedowns all fight long.

    Though Pacio was able to get licks with his strikes in the third and fourth rounds, the challenger stuck with his gameplan and frustrated the champ with his ground game, one that bode well for him when the fight went to the judges' scorecards in what has been a closely contested fight.

    It was a tough first title defense for Pacio, who won the belt last September in the Indonesian capital from Yoshitaka Naito. His record dropped to 13-3 in what was a bad start of the year for Team Lakay.

    Saruta, meanwhile, improved to 19-8-3 as he became the second Japanese to hold the crown in the promotion's flyweight division.

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    Team Lakay's Edward Kelly also suffered a technical knock out defeat to Singapore ace Christian Lee at the 2:43 mark of the first round in their rematch from last September.

    Robin Catalan was the lone Filipino to come out triumphant in Jakarta, pulling off a stunning upset win over hometown bet Stefer Rahardian via unanimous decision in their strawweight bout.

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    PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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