MMA: Joshua Pacio confident in third fight vs. Yosuke Saruta

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) – Almost 21 months since his last fight, ONE Championship strawweight champion Johsua Pacio trusts that his improved confidence will bring him to victory in his third fight against rival Yosuke Saruta.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines, the 25-year-old prized fighter of Team Lakay said he used the layoff brought about by the pandemic to work on being more confident in all of his fighting styles.

"Kahit saan mapunta 'yung laban, confident ako na advantage nating lahat [Wherever the fight goes, I'm confident that we have an advantage]. That's the goal, to be a better person every day and improve all of our fight aspects," Pacio said.

Pacio explained that during the lull, he assessed that one of his weaknesses was his hesitation to execute a fighting technique towards his opponent.

The mixed martial artist from Baguio City added that his upcoming third fight against Saruta was a wish granted to him, as the Japanese remains the no. 1 contender for the ONE strawweight crown.

"He really deserves to face me again for the third time," said Pacio.

Pacio said his confidence in all aspects of his game will be his source of strength in facing Saruta for the third time in ONE: Revolution on Sept. 24.

"I want to prove my confidence in all aspects of my game. When I'm facing a wrestler, I'll focus on defense in terms of taking him down. When I'm against a grappler, I will engage more in defense in his grappling," Pacio explained.

Saruta defeated Pacio via split decision in their first encounter in 2019. The Filipino MMA star got his revenge three months later with a sensational knockout victory in the fourth round to reclaim the ONE strawweight belt.

"Ang sure na mananalo dito is kung sino ang makakapagbigay ng bagong skills [The sure winner of our fight is the one who can demonstrate new skills]," said Pacio.

Pacio said he will stick to the game plan and will aim for any fight result, whether it is a decision, knockout, or submission. He sports a 17-3-0 win-loss-draw record, while Saruta has a 21-9-3 slate.