April 18, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao 

Several Filipino fighters are confident former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua “Passion” Pacio can score a major upset in his rematch with reigning champion Jarred Brooks.

Pacio and Brooks will co-headline the ONE 166 on March 1 in Qatar, where thousands of overseas Filipino workers are located.

ALL SET FOR REMATCH — Former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio (left) is all ready to face reigning champion Jarred Brooks of the United States in their championship rematch as the co-main event of ONE 166 on March 1 in Qatar. Brooks defeated Pacio via a unanimous decision in their first encounter in December 2022. — ONE photo

Fellow mixed martial arts fighters shared Pacio has fight IQ that is also as high as that of Brooks, who has not fought since dethroning the Filipino champion in December 2022.

While Brooks is a known knockout artist, he failed to stop Pacio during their five-minute championship bout. This means Pacio was effective in his defense during their first encounter.

Earlier, the camp of Pacio at Lions Nation MMA has shared the Filipino fighter is focusing on his boxing and ground game so he could go toe-to-toe against Brooks effectively.

The brash American champion and the Cordilleran fighter have almost identical fight records with the latter having 20 wins and two losses while the latter has 20 wins and four losses.

ONE Championship has arranged the championship bout between Brooks and Pacio after the latter outlasted Mansur Malachiev in October 2023.

Brooks, on the other hand, has entered the strawweight division by storm after he cleaned the division of previous title contenders.

Among the title contenders defeated by Brooks were Lito Adiwang, Koha Minowa, and Bokang Masunyane.

Brooks once fought under the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion before he signed with the Singapore-based ONE Championship.