Yosuke Saruta edged out Joshua Pacio at ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday in Jakarta. The Japanese challenger, who was only offered the fight as a replacement for the injured Hayato Suzuki, becomes the latest in a long line of fighters to win the strawweight title.
This was the fourth time in a row that this particular title has changed hands, but few of the bouts in question can have been quite this entertaining. Pacio attempted a head kick right from the opening bell, but Saruta saw it coming and shoved him to the ground.
His takedowns would be a feature of the fight and Saruta landed another earlier in the second round. Pacio never stayed down for any length of time, but the Japanese challenger’s approach was far from one-dimensional, he also ripped hooks to the body and head at every opportunity.
In the third round, Pacio gave up an early takedown to try and sink in a guillotine. The gambit didn’t pay off, but the Filipino was only briefly on his back, he rallied strongly in the closing seconds with a spinning back kick and a flying knee attempt.
In the fourth, Saruta was determined to land a takedown, but Pacio’s defense was on point. The fifth started with the champion throwing a head kick to counter a combination of punches from the challenger. The Japanese fighter finally got the fight down in the dying seconds only to eat an up-kick.
The fight looked too close to call, but in ONE Championship there are no draws and two of the three judges voted in favor of Saruta, who improves to 19-8-3. Pacio drops to 16-3, but remains firmly in the picture for this hot potato of a title.
Earlier in the night, Christian Lee (11-3) made short work of Edward Kelly (11-6), taking the Filipino down and finishing him with ground and pound at 2:53 of round 1. His brother in law did the same thing to Kotetsu Boku (26-13), but Bruno Pucci (7-3) finished the fight with a rear naked choke at 3:32 of round 1.
ONE: Eternal Glory Full Results
Yosuke Saruta defeats Joshua Pacio via split decision to claim the ONE Strawweight World Championship
Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy defeats Alexi Serepisos via unanimous decision (ONE Super Series Muay Thai — Flyweight)
Christian Lee defeats Edward Kelly by TKO at 2:53 of round one (Mixed Martial Arts — Featherweight)
Puja Tomar defeats Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol via split decision (Mixed Martial Arts — Women’s Atomweight)
Jonathan Haggerty defeats Joseph Lasiri via unanimous decision (ONE Super Series Muay Thai —Flyweight)
Robin Catalan defeats Stefer Rahardian via unanimous decision (Mixed Martial Arts — Strawweight)
Bruno Pucci submits Kotetsu Boku via rear-naked choke at 3:32 of round one (Mixed Martial Arts — Featherweight)
Kwon Won Il defeats Anthony Engelen via TKO at 1:07 of round one (Mixed Martial Arts — Featherweight)
Koji Ando defeats Rasul Yakhyaev via split decision (Mixed Martial Arts — Lightweight)
Niu Kang Kang defeats Sunoto via knockout at 0:31 of round one (Mixed Martial Arts — 68-Kilogram Catch Weight)
Aziz Calim submits Adi Paryanto via rear-naked choke at 4:40 of round one (Mixed Martial Arts — Strawweight)
Oscar Yaqut defeats Andreas Satyawan via TKO at 2:36 of round two (Mixed Martial Arts — Featherweight)