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Naito hands Pacio first defeat, stays as One strawweight champ

One Championship
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Last week, Joshua Pacio vowed that he will come to the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon "101 percent ready."

On Friday night, he appeared to be that prepared, but Yoshitaka Naito pulled a mid-game surprise.

Naito turned the tides in the third round to score a submission win against Pacio to retain the One strawweight championship in the main event of One: State of Warriors.

Pacio looked to be heading to the biggest win of erstwhile unbeaten career after showcasing his striking prowess over Naito in the first two rounds.

But Naito successfully forced the match to his more comfortable ground game in Round 3 and dealt a rear-naked choke to Pacio, forcing the latter to tap out at the 1:33 mark of the said period.

Naito, who succeeded in his first title defense, remained without a defeat 12 fights into his career.

“This is definitely my happiest and best fight ever. I just did what I came to do. I showed Myanmar what I can do, all my skills, and I won,” Naito said after the win.

Meanwhile, Pacio's Team Lakay stablemate Kevin Belingon made a successful One Championship comeback with a unanimous decision win against Main Gafurov in an undercard match.

Belingon began working his way back to the bantamweight title picture with an impressive striking performance against Gafurov from the start.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno