JOSHUA Pacio reclaimed the ONE Strawweight World Championship with an impressive knockout victory over Yosuke Saruta on Friday night at ONE: Roots of Honor at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 23-year-old sensation perfectly timed a right knee to the head of his Japanese rival that knocked him out at the 2:43 mark of the fourth round to become a two-time champion of the mixed martial arts outfit.
"I'm so speechless right now," said Pacio, who improved to 17-3 while redeeming himself from a shock loss to Saruta back in January at ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta.
Showing he learned from that loss, the Igorot warrior was the aggressor this time around and was pin-point on his hits and superb on defense. He twice caught Saruta with guillotine choke attempts when the champion was going for the takedown.
But it was in the fourth round where he proved how hungry he was to reclaim the throne, coming hot off the corner with body shots from a clinch before dropping the Japanese with a sick knee.
"Last time, there's a lot of hesitation coming from that fight. We just applied our game plan here," he said.
"Belt nating lahat ito!," Pacio said as he celebrated with home fans.
The loss sent Saruta to a 19-9-3 card.