‘We Gave It Our All’ – Joshua Pacio Reviews Victory Over Mansur Malachiev, Eyes World Title Rematch
Former divisional king and current #1-ranked strawweight MMA contender Joshua Pacio may have punched his ticket to another World Championship opportunity.
This past Friday, October 6, “The Passion” picked up an incredibly hard-fought decision victory over previously undefeated Russian star Mansur Malachiev inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
In that pivotal contest, #5-ranked Malachiev flexed his grappling prowess, as he hit several takedowns and forced his 27-year-old Filipino rival to work from his back for a large chunk of the three-round war.
Despite those takedowns, Pacio felt confident heading to the judges’ scorecards, primarily due to his explosive striking arsenal. “The Passion” landed crisp punches, battered his Russian foe with leg kicks, and even opened up a gash on Malachiev’s face, and he is well aware that the Global MMA Rule Set places a great deal of emphasis on damage.
After that battle of top-five strawweight MMA contenders, Pacio said:
“I was throwing heavy shots, and I think it’s the damage category [where I won]. Yes, he took me down, but he didn’t damage me from my guard.”
In addition to the success he found in the stand-up department, Pacio also reminded the global fan base that he’s a skilled and dangerous grappler.
On several occasions, he locked up Malachiev in tight, constrictor-like guillotine chokes. As a matter of fact, one choke attempt in round two nearly brought an end to the fight. But with a potential crack at the ONE Strawweight MMA World Championship on the line, the Russian simply refused to tap out.
Pacio praised his foe’s toughness and grit:
“In the second round, I heard him struggling. But, you know, for us, Mansur and I, this is our shot for a title. So, we gave it our all. He was very hard to get. He’s undefeated for a reason.”
Pacio Thinks Brooks Is Next, Open To Any Top Contenders
With the unanimous decision victory, Joshua Pacio has a strong argument to challenge longtime rival, reigning ONE Strawweight MMA World Champion Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks, for the 26 pounds of gold.
Before the outspoken American won the belt at ONE 164 last December, Pacio held the World Title for a little over four years.
While “The Passion” believes his win over Mansur Malachiev earned him a rematch with Brooks, he isn’t entirely satisfied with his performance at ONE Fight Night 15 on Prime Video this past Friday. So, if he needs to defeat another one of the division’s top-five contenders first, then he would happily accept the bout offer.
When asked if a World Title rematch with “The Monkey God” is next, Pacio said:
“I think so. But honestly, I’m not impressed with my performance right now. I need to go to the gym again and work harder, you know? I was not relaxed, I was concentrated on throwing the power shots because I saw the damage. And I was eager to throw power shots. So, it really got in my head, to finish him. But that’s not how it was supposed to happen. I should have been more relaxed, throw my combinations more confidently.
“If they give me Jarred Brooks, I’ll grab it. Like what I’ve said, if they give me [#2-ranked contender] Bokang [Masunyane] or someone else in the top five, I’ll still grab it.”
Disappointed that he wasn’t able to secure the finish and add to his dazzling highlight reel, the Lions Nation MMA representative is now focused on growth and improvement.
Whether it’s against Brooks, Masunyane, or any other top-ranked strawweight, Pacio wants to prove that he’s still an elite MMA fighter in his next outing.
“I’m going to go home and rest. I’m eager to go back to the training camp, watch my errors in the fight because honestly, like I said, I was not impressed with my performance, and I need to come back and show people that I really deserve to be a champion again.”