September 26, 2022

The much-awaited duel between ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio and top American challenger Jarred Brooks will be the main event of ONE 164 on Dec. 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

ALL SET — The much awaited championship bout between reigning ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio of Team Lakay and top challenger Jarred Brooks of the United States has been set at ONE 164 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Dec. 3. — ONE photo

The news, as reported by Sports Illustrated brought frenzy among mixed martial arts fnas around the world, who have been waiting for update on the world championship bout.

Pacio, 26, and Brooks, 29, are supposed to headline the ONE 158 on June 3 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but Asia’s biggest media sports promotion came out with a new fight card changing the main card and without the names of the two fighters.

Brooks stormed the ONE strawweight division with three straight victories against top five title contenders in less than a year.

Brooks defeated Team Lakay rising star Lito Adiwang via arm triangle choke in the second round of their bout on Oct. 29, 2021. Three months later, he edged Koha Minowa of Japan via unanimous decision on Jan. 28, 2022 before he easily submitted title contender Bokang Masunyane via rear-naked choke on April 22.

Pacio, on the other hand, has not fought for almost a year now after he successfully defended his belt when he stopped former champion Yosuke Saruta of Japan via technical knockout in their trilogy on Sept. 24, 2021.

Pacio has emerged as a two-division world champion when he defeated Saruta in their first world championship match in April 2019.

The Team Lakay prized fighter successfully defended the title against fellow Filipino compatriot Rene Catalan via arm triangle choke in    November 2019. He was also challenged by former world champion Alex Silva, whom he defeated via split decision in January 2020.

Since last year, Brooks has been taunting Pacio to be ready, as he will be the next title challenger and eventually become the new division king. – Harley F. Palangchao