‘I Have More Tools Than Him’ – Joshua Pacio Determined To Bounce Back Against Unbeaten Mansur Malachiev

Jarred Brooks faces Joshua Pacio at ONE 164

Joshua “The Passion” Pacio is prepared to face any top contender in order to work back toward the ONE Strawweight MMA World Championship. 

The division’s former king and current #1-ranked contender will begin his quest for a rematch with Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks when he takes on undefeated #5 contender Mansur Malachiev at ONE Fight Night 15: Le vs. Freymanov on Prime Video.

Despite falling short, Pacio’s hunger was reignited following his World Title defeat to Brooks last December.

Now, the Filipino star wants to prove he’s still the most dangerous challenger to the throne when he returns in U.S. primetime this Friday, October 6.

Pacio spoke to onefc.com ahead of his tough test in Bangkok, Thailand:

“I am willing to fight anyone in the top five, and with Mansur being in the top five, I’m gonna fight him.

“I’m okay with Gustavo Balart, I’m okay with Hiroba Minowa, and I would’ve wanted to face Bokang Masunyane, but it’s Mansur who took the fight, so let’s get it on.”

Although Malachiev has only competed once in ONE Championship, Pacio knows he is a supremely dangerous opponent.

Indeed, the Russian phenom sports a perfect 11-0 mixed martial arts record and dispatched fellow rising star Jeremy Miado in the first round of his promotional debut at ONE Fight Night 11.

Miado was on a four-fight knockout streak, but Malachiev stopped him with a strong grappling attack. Pacio was quite impressed by that performance, but he’s not overawed by the threat he’ll be facing this Friday.

“The Passion” said:

“I think [Malachiev is] a pressure fighter. We saw it against Miado. Jeremy caught him with a good cross, and he got rocked, but he kept going. He kept gunning for that double-leg takedown because his aim was to control Miado and submit him. 

“Even in his fights in Eagle FC (where Malachiev became a champion], he was a monster wrestler. He’s also very good at putting together chains of submissions, so he’s certainly a high-level grappler. 

“But I believe I’ve already fought the best wrestler in my division, and that is Jarred Brooks. This gives me more confidence to face Mansur. I believe I have more tools than him in MMA.”

Pacio Vows To Fight With More Confidence After Tough Loss To Brooks

Despite being on the losing end of his World Title showdown with Jarred Brooks, the five-round affair was a crucial learning experience for Joshua Pacio. 

Given how that matchup played out against the American wrestler, Pacio will come into ONE Fight Night 15 with a stronger focus on his strengths – and a more offensively minded game plan.

The Filipino sensation knows he’ll have to fend off Mansur Malachiev’s wrestling and ground game, but instead of being frozen by it, he’s embracing the challenge. 

Pacio explained:

“It’s more than just the skills when you ask what I’ve learned from that loss against Jarred Brooks. It’s more the mental aspect and the importance of being confident in a match. Looking at that fight, I was very stagnant. I was just waiting for him to shoot for a takedown and defend, so I was really limited.

“If I stop Malachiev’s takedowns, great. If I don’t, then now I know what to do. That’s the most important thing. Nothing’s gonna happen if you keep saying to yourself, ‘Don’t get taken down, don’t get taken down.’

“The most important thing is knowing what to do whatever your position is in the fight – be it on the bottom, on top, or standing. Going into this fight, I can say that I’m confident because I know what to do whether I’m on the bottom defending or on the top.”

That’s not to say Pacio will willingly play into the Russian’s strategy.

The 27-year-old is prepared for combat in any range, but above all, he wants to impose his own game on his upcoming foe.

With his famed striking and inventive grappling, “The Passion” has a lot of ways to win. He admits it won’t be easy, but Plan A is to finish Malachiev before the final bell.

Pacio added:

“Of course, I want to win in spectacular fashion, I want to stop him. But I know what my opponent is capable of. If I could predict, I feel like this will be a three-rounder. 

“But don’t get me wrong, I’m working on things and we’re cooking a game plan that, if I execute well, will mean I’m going to stop him.”

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