After nearly capturing the ONE Strawweight World Championship belt five months ago, the road back to earning another title shot commences for Joshua Pacio, as the highly-touted Filipino fighter is set to duke it out with former world titleholder Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.
Both men are scheduled to face each other in the undercard of ONE Championship: Warrior Kingdom, which takes place at the 12,000-capacity Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, March 11.
Pacio is expected to have his hands full as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Dejdamrong, who is a three-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai world champion with over 25 years of competitive experience.
With a record of 6-1 as a professional mixed martial artist, Dejdamrong is known as a technical striker with lightning-quick hands and feet, employing some of the most unique and creative combinations.
Although Pacio has a tall order in front of him, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is confident that his talented student will have his hand raised in triumph.
Sangiao — who has played a key role in the success of fighters such as Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, Geje Eustaquio, and Kevin Belingon — believes that Pacio’s versatility will be a big factor against Dejdamrong.
“In today’s MMA, versatility is the key to success. Your striking should be as good as your grappling in order to be successful.
“Joshua is good in all aspects of the game. He has a superb striking background. He also has an efficient ground game. In his upcoming bout, you can expect that Joshua will be the more well-rounded guy inside the cage against a pure striker like Dejdamrong,” Sangiao shared.
Pacio, who possesses an impressive 8-1 standing as a prizefighter, is a Wushu specialist with a solid grappling skill set.
All eight of his career victories have come by finish, with five wins by submission and three wins by knockout.
“There is something special in Joshua. He’s young, but he is hardworking and willing to give his best. Joshua always pushes himself to the limit. He knows that he has to do the grind in training to be successful in his fights,” Sangiao remarked of Pacio.
“He is truly dedicated to what he does. Plus, he has this winning attitude, which is an essential requirement to a fighter who wants to become a champion in this sport.”
Sangiao is completely convinced that Pacio will be difficult for Dejdamrong to handle due to his ability to mix it up inside the cage.
“Joshua can fight anywhere, whether it’s in the stand-up or on the ground,” he shared.
“Versatility will be the key to victory in this fight.”
Sangiao hopes that if Pacio secures a convincing victory over Dejdamrong, it will grant his valued student a rematch with Yoshitaka Naito for the ONE Strawweight World Championship strap later this year.
“He is so prepared for this fight. He has given everything in training just to be in perfect shape for this bout. Joshua is really determined to get another title shot against Naito. He almost won that fight.
“He believes that a win against Dejdamrong will be his ticket to Naito. I also hope that we can get that title shot if he wins,” he said.