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Joshua Pacio reclaims ONE strawweight title controversially


MANILA: Joshua Pacio reclaimed the ONE strawweight title controversially as American fighter Jarred Brooks was disqualified just 56 seconds into their championship rematch at ONE 166 at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar on Friday night.

Brooks thought he knocked out Pacio to keep his belt when referee Herb Dean stopped the fight after a ground-and-pound action right after a takedown.

However, Dean ruled it otherwise as Brooks appeared to have slammed Pacio down to the canvas head first during the takedown attempt, considered by ONE Championship as an “illegal spike.”

With the disqualification also having an impact on the title change, Pacio, who was still receiving treatment as of posting, is once again the ONE strawweight champion, his sixth reign as the top guy in the 125-pound division.

“The latest prognosis is that he’s a hundred percent fine. I think his neck is sprained,” ONE Championship chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong said during the post-fight press conference.

“He’s doing a battery of
tests right now in a Lusail hospital overnight.”

Pacio’s longtime training partner Eduard Folayang confirmed the development in a Facebook statement, saying, “Joshua is conscious. He can move his hand and leg, and he is here in the hospital for necessary procedures to undergo.”

Protest denied

Sityodtong also said that he was disappointed at the outcome of the Brooks-Pacio fight, especially when Brooks did the spike.

“We’ve had thousands of fights, and to have an illegal spike like that, I was very upset,” he said.

Sityodtong immediately thumbed down a potential protest from Brooks’ camp, which claimed that Pacio was just trying to get out of a Kimura submission when he took him down.

“That was a dump on the head. Hundred percent illegal,” Sityodtong insisted.

With that said, Brooks’ disqualification will be upheld and Pacio will stay as the ONE strawweight champion.

However, with the way their second meeting ended, a third showdown between the two fighters could be on the way to finally settle who’s t
he better champ at 125 pounds.

Despite that, Sityodtong said a trilogy fight is not yet on his mind right now.

“I haven’t thought that far, to be honest. What I care about most right now is that Joshua recovers 100 percent,” Sityodtong said.

Folayang, who now leads Lions Nation MMA, has sought prayers that any major injury in Pacio’s neck and spine that could derail his stellar career, be ruled out.

Earlier in the night, Pacio’s fellow Filipino strawweight contender Jeremy Miado suffered a first-round submission defeat to Japanese opponent Keito Yamakita.

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