Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang will be watching closely when #3-ranked Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks and #4-ranked Hiroba Minowa meet in a strawweight mixed martial arts clash at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE.
The pivotal fight goes down this Friday, 28 January, and the winner could earn the next crack at Pacio’s ONE Strawweight World Title.
Meanwhile, former #5 contender Adiwang has already faced both men and would undoubtedly help his Team Lakay stablemate prepare for a World Title challenge. And of course, “Thunder Kid” would love a crack at redemption against either athlete.
Before the action goes down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, both Filipino stalwarts took the time to break down this highly anticipated main card bout.
“This match is going to be great,” Pacio begins.
“Brooks is a wrestler, a very explosive one. And he’s not a one-dimensional wrestler; he can trade blows with you. He’s willing to exchange hands and then he’ll change levels and use his bread and butter, which is his wrestling.
“Minowa on the other hand, the last time I saw him, he was really dominant. He can take you down and control you there.”
Knowing firsthand how both contenders move inside the Circle, Adiwang believes this fight could be a tale of two halves.
“Jarred has a good shot of getting a submission or a stoppage in the early rounds,” he says.
“I believe that he’s very strong in short periods. His takedowns were great, his control was great, and so was his submission game. One thing I noticed is that he was beginning to gas out [when we fought]. Honestly, if you’d ask him, and if he’d say the truth, he’ll admit it.
“I’m giving Brooks the advantage early on, but if this goes the distance, I’ll give it to Minowa. I think Minowa’s gas tank is better.
“If Minowa plays his cards right, tries to outpoint him on the feet, and defends Brooks’ takedowns, I think he can drag it into the third round and win.”
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“The Passion” echoed this sentiment, believing that the 23-year-old Japanese athlete could grow into the match, while the 28-year-old American may fade.
“I think Brooks has an advantage early. He always comes out strong in the first round and second round. But if this pushes past there, I’ll take Minowa,” Pacio says.
“Lito basically told us that he felt he was tiring. He even took the entire five minutes to rest from that low blow. I get that it’s legal, but I don’t think it was that hard of a blow. He definitely took the time to rest.
“I think if this reaches the third round, I’ll take Minowa.”
Both Brooks and Minowa are expert grapplers who utilize strong wrestling and crushing top control.
Adiwang spent the first frame of his November 2021 loss underneath “The Monkey God” before he was submitted in round two. His defeat to Minowa was much closer, as he came out on the wrong side of a split decision in 2020.
With those experiences in mind, he knows the Japanese upstart will be in tough if the man from Michigan gets him into a compromised position.
“Skill for skill, when it comes to takedowns and submissions, I’d give it to Brooks. I believe his game is tighter there,” Adiwang says.
“The technique is there. His control is heavier than Minowa’s. When I fought Minowa, there was an instance where he got me in an arm-triangle, the same position where I lost to Brooks, but I was able to get out of it. I think the difference is when Brooks gets you, he has a very strong squeeze.”
Overall, he gives a slight edge to the brash American, although he won’t commit too much to that prediction.
“Man, it’s still 50-50 to me. Oh okay, maybe I’ll give the slight edge to Brooks. Maybe it’s 51-49 Brooks,” Adiwang adds.
“It’s just the experience, I think it’s going to be the difference. His experience and power is above Minowa’s.”
When it comes to Pacio, he’s simply hoping for an exciting fight that could produce a future World Title challenger.
Top-ranked contender Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane is also still very much in the mix, and the reigning king will happily go to war against anyone who proves worthy.
“[I’ll face] whoever. We’ve been looking at them all for a long time, Brooks, Minowa, and Masunyane,” Pacio says.
“We’ve been reviewing their strengths, their skills, their weaknesses. During training, I’m putting myself in a position where I’m competing against them and I try to work on it.
“So I’m not picking – I’m ready for any of them.”
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