YOUTH prevailed over experience as Joshua Pacio retained his ONE Strawweight World Championship with a second-round submission win over Rene Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate on Friday night.
The 23-year-old champion caught an opponent 17 years older with on an arm triangle choke and forced him to tap out at the 2:29 mark of round two in the all-Filipino title fight at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"The gameplan in round one was I will feel him with the striking. And if I feel that I can take him down, I'll do it," the Team Lakay prodigy said.
Pacio got in his hits in the first round, connecting on a spinning heel kick before fending off Catalan's grappling attempts. He wiggled out of a heel hook by rolling over to prevent the submission.
Feeling confident with his improved ground defense in the first round, the Igorot warrior caught his challenger on a side control in the second and hit stiff body shots before finally locking in the submission hold.
With the victory, Pacio rose to a 15-3 record, ready to keep his stranglehold of the division into the next year.
"For me, I'm the champion and my job is to keep on training and level up and wait for the next opponent and defend (the belt)," he said.
Catalan, on the other hand, saw his six-match win streak halted as he fell to 6-3.