Team Lakay ushers in new fighters’ generation
Team Lakay’s resiliency and mettle truly was tested in 2021, as it continued to grapple through the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Still at the forefront of this youth revolution is reigning ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio who finally made his return to the ONE circle after 18 months of inactivity.
The 25-year-old Pacio has reminded everyone why it is him who sits on the throne, as he silenced his rival Yosuke Saruta with an emphatic first round knockout to successfully defend his belt at ONE: Revolution back in September.
Jeremy Pacatiw also announced his arrival in the bantamweight division with a scintillating unanimous decision conquest over Chen Rui at ONE: Battleground last July to leave a lasting impression for fans.
Just before the year ended, what’s next became what’s now for Team Lakay, with bantamweights Stephen Loman and Jhanlo Mark Sangiao making strong impressions in their respective debuts at ONE: Winter Warriors II in December.
Loman, a proud champion in his past stops, wasted little time proving that he belongs among his weight class’ heavy hitters and stunned erstwhile third-ranked Yusup Saadulaev with his electric striking and delivered a killer left hook that floored the Russian late in the first round.
Sangiao, meanwhile, displayed what was touted to be the new generation of Team Lakay, as he made quick work of Paul Lumihi with his impeccable grappling to secure the first-round submission win with his rear naked choke.
Lito Adiwang continued to show that he is one of the fastest rising stars in the promotion, first knocking out Namiki Kawahara with a killer left hook in round two of their bout at ONE: Unbreakable in January, and a methodical unanimous decision win over Hexigetu at ONE: Revolution.
Meanwhile, of the veterans who fought this year, it was only Edward Kelly who got his hands raised as he outlasted Ahmed Faress via split decision at ONE: Full Blast back in May.
Tough as those defeats were, Team Lakay can still consider itself as winners especially after some of its fighters survived their respective battles against the dreaded virus early this year.
And with the future now in full bloom, the vaunted gym of coach Mark Sangiao can only look at the bright side as they aim to get back to their position as the best stable in ONE Championship come 2022. – ONE release