July 16, 2024

With reigning ONE strawweight mixed martial arts world champion Joshua Pacio indefinitely out of action due to injury, former champion Jarred Brooks and Gustavo Balart will face for the interim belt.

ONE announced last week that the interim bout between two formidable fighters is set on Aug. 2 via U.S. primetime.

ONE INTERIM MATCH — Former ONE MMA strawweight world champion Jarred Brooks will face Gustavo Balart for the division’s interim belt after reigning champion Joshua Pacio of Lions Nation MMA has been injured and it would take time before he fully recovers. — ONE photos

The former divisional kingpin Brooks is currently ranked top contender while Balart is now ranked third in the division.

Brooks has been largely dominant in the strawweight MMA division since joining ONE Championship.

After finishing Filipino phenom Lito Adiwang in his promotional debut in November 2021, the American ripped through top-ranked contenders Hiroba Minowa and Bokang Masunyane to earn a crack at then-divisional kingpin Pacio.

In December 2022, Brooks decimated the Filipino superstar across five rounds to secure a unanimous decision victory and claim the belt.

Though Brooks took a detour to unsuccessfully challenge ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion Mikey Musumeci last August, he returned to MMA for his first world title defense against Pacio at the promotion’s inaugural show in Qatar seven months later.

Despite controlling the early going of that match, Brooks executed an illegal slam just 56 seconds into the first round, leading to his disqualification as Pacio reclaimed the belt.

With Pacio now out of action, Brooks has an opportunity to take back the gold and set up a world title unification trilogy fight next year.

However, Balart will bring serious momentum into the world title main event.

The former Olympic wrestler from Cuba is riding a four-bout winning streak, which includes heart-racing victories over former ONE Strawweight MMA world champions Alex Silva and Yosuke Saruta along with his most recent triumph over Minowa.

Off the strength of those performances, Balart has earned the chance to claim a ONE MMA world title and achieve immortality in the sport. – ONE release