April 14, 2024

Reigning ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio will defend his belt against fellow Filipino challenger while two former world champions are also in the stacked Manila card on Nov. 8.

ONE announced Monday that Pacio will face former world wushu champion Rene Catalan in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate set at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 23-year-old Pacio first captured the strawweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Japanese veteran Yoshitaka Naito in September 2018, but surrendered the title to another Japanese warrior, former Shooto champion Yosuke Saruta, in his first defense. 

Months later, Pacio avenged that defeat by knocking Saruta out with a head kick to regain the ONE Championship gold.

Now, Pacio is looking to make the first defense of his second strawweight title reign against Catalan.

Catalan, on the other hand, is currently the hottest strawweight challenger in the division who is riding an impressive six-bout win streak. 

The wushu champion and veteran martial artist stopped former champion Naito in the first round of his most recent outing, earning him a shot at the ONE strawweight world championship. 

ONE also announced that two-time ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang is on the comeback trail after missing the ONE lightweight world Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan this month.

Folayang will face MGL-1 FC lightweight champion Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhuu of Mongolia in the co-main event. The veteran member of Team Lakay will have to deal with Tsogookhuu’s uncharted power, as the Mongolian boasts of a solid knockout ratio featuring three stoppages out of five victories.

Former ONE flyweight world champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio is also back in contention when he faces former bantamweight world champion Toni “Dynamite” Tauru of Finland in the flyweight division.

The bout will run it back in a highly-anticipated rematch. 

In their first encounter back in 2016, Tauru submitted Eustaquio via first round rear-naked choke. Since then, Eustaquio has gone on to capture the flyweight belt twice. – Harley F. Palangchao