January 29, 2023

Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio has been named as one of the world’s top mixed martial arts fighters under 25 years old, joining the ranks of elite warriors from various MMA promotions.

ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports coverage, credited the 24-year-old Pacio, who is turning 25 in January next year, for his two consecutive successful defenses of his ONE Championship strawweight title.

ESPN has noted that Pacio, who has 19 wins and three losses, lost only once in the past three years, particularly to former champion Yosuke Saruta, which he avenged in 2019 to regain the belt, making him a two-time (and current) world champion.

“Pacio fights out of Team Lakay, which has been a stalwart for Asia’s One Promotion since its inception in 2011,” cited the ESPN report.

Pacio turned professional MMA fighter at 17 years old, where he scored a technical knockout against Denver Songaben in his MMA debut.

He was undefeated in his next eight fights until August 2016.

He suffered his first loss against Yoshitaka Naito in a world title match in October 2016 when he was 20 years old.

He became a world champion at 21 when he defeated Naito in September 2018.

Aside from Pacio, three other fighters under ONE Championship promotion were also named in the top 25 young fighters – siblings Angela and Christian Lee ranked 11th and 15th, respectively.

The older Angela at 24 years old is the reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion while Christian, 22, is the reigning ONE lightweight world champion.

Sage Northcutt, 24, is the fourth ONE fighter in the list of elite young fighters.

The 24-year-old Jimmy Crute, who fights under the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion, ranked number one in the list. – Harley F. Palangchao