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Pongsiri Mitsatit Plots His Path To Joshua Pacio After Big KO

May 23, 2019

Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit has found the inspiration he needs to climb to the top of his division and avenge a defeat against a World Champion.

At ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT on 10 May, the 22-year-old returned to winning ways with a stunning first-round knockout of Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan.

Competing in his native Thailand at Bangkok’s Impact Arena, Mitsatit was back to his best. Though he is now a mixed martial artist, his Muay Thai weapons were as sharp as ever as he closed the show with a beautifully executed knee strike to the body.

Pongsiri Mitsatit sends Bangkok into a frenzy with an ELECTRIFYING knockout at 3:05 of Round 1!

"The Smiling Assassin" is BACK Pongsiri Mitsatit sends Bangkok into a frenzy with an ELECTRIFYING knockout at 3:05 of Round 1!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 10 May 2019

However, before the knockout, “The Smiling Assassin” had to demonstrate improved grappling defense to escape Catalan’s rear-naked choke and heel hook attempts.

“I knew he was going to come out hard from the opening bell and try to take me down. He’s a really strong wrestler, but his strikes aren’t as powerful,” Mitsatit explains.

“My corner told me to feint in, defend the takedowns, and use my knees. When he did get me down, I just stayed calm and focused on getting back up.”

Whenever he was on his feet, the Thai looked unstoppable as he aggressively attacked his rival in search of a finish.

However, his compatriots’ hearts were in their mouths inside the Impact Arena when Catalan fell in pain after he absorbed an accidental low blow.

“At first I was scared I would lose by foul or get disqualified, but after they examined the videos and my opponent got up, it was okay,” Mitsatit says.

Fortunately, the match continued after some injury time and the Chiang Mai native went back to work.

His earlier mistake did not stop him from going right back to his game plan, and the Tiger Muay Thai representative used his superior clinch and blistering pace to take Catalan into deep water.

“I knew the knees were hurting him, so it gave me more confidence. After that, I went for the KO,” he says.

“I thought that if I could land a knee that would fully connect, it would finish him. The initial knees I landed weren’t enough, so I just kept trying.”

As he backed “The Ilonggo” up against the fence, one perfectly-placed power strike sent Catalan to the canvas in pain, and the referee immediately jumped in to stop the contest at 3:05 of the first stanza.

The result brought huge cheers from the home crowd.

“I’m really happy I was able to execute my game plan and win by KO. It felt especially good to make my coaches proud,” adds Mitsatit.

“There were so many people there cheering for me, I really was motivated to win, and felt the pressure of my last two losses on me.”

It was the best win of “The Smiling Assassin’s” career – in terms of the level of his opponent and his spectacular method of victory.

After a difficult 2018, he is now ready to take his career to the next level, and he is aiming high. His target is the ONE Strawweight World Title and if he can reach that, he will have to face the man who finished him with a highlight-reel submission last year.

“[My win] has given me the motivation to do better, train harder, and try to get myself into World Title contention,” he says.

“I need to keep training and get more experience. Whenever ONE calls me, I’ll be ready to compete again. The sooner the better.

“I feel like another two or three wins will earn me a World Title shot. My goal is early next year, but if the opportunity comes sooner, I’ll make sure to be ready.”

“Joshua Pacio is the reigning World Champion. I’d need to train really hard, but I still think I can beat him. I’m just resting at home in Chiang Mai, but I will head back to Tiger to train shortly.”