April 18, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao 

Former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio and his camp at Lions Nation MMA have stepped up their training as they prepare for the Cordilleran fighter’s rematch against reigning champion Jarred Brooks.

The much-awaited rematch between two of the most exciting fighters in ONE main roster will be the co-main event of ONE 166 on March 1 in Qatar.

READY FOR BATTLE — The rematch between reigning ONE strawweight world champion Jarred Brooks and former champion Joshua Pacio in the co-main event of ONE 166 on March 1 in Qatar is expected to be an exciting one, as both fighters are confident of victory. — ONE photo

Of late, the 28-year-old Pacio has been exerting more time with his boxing and his ground game, as Brooks is a known submission and knockout artist.

The brash American champion took the belt from Pacio during their first encounter in December 2022 via a unanimous decision.

That was the last time Brooks saw action inside the ONE circle while Pacio routed Mansur Malachiev via a unanimous decision in October 2023.

The victory has convinced ONE to arrange a rematch against Brooks, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter.

Brooks, 30, currently has 20 wins against two losses.

Pacio also has 20 wins but with four losses.

Brooks remains a formidable opponent, as he has not suffered defeat since September 2018.

Before he fought Pacio for the world belt, Brooks has eliminated all top five title contenders in the division, including Lito Adiwang and Bokang Masunyane.

Meanwhile, Pacio has assured the fans he and Brooks will deliver an exciting bout after he was criticized by some in his last performance for his lack of aggression.