On January 19, 2019, Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, 31, of Saitama, Japan became the new ONE Strawweight World Champion by dethroning defending champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. They headlined “ONE: Eternal Glory” at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After five five-minute rounds, the bout between Pacio and Saruta was left in the hands of the judges. In the end, referee Olivier Coste raised the hand of the Japanese challenger, who was declared the winner via split decision.
The decision was highly debated in the mixed martial community. ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong even declared that he personally believed it was Pacio who won the match.
More than a month after the match, reports claim that the rematch between Pacio and Saruta will take place during the second ONE Championship event in 2019 to take place in the Philippines. They will reportedly co-headline “ONE: Roots of Honor,” which is scheduled to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
In the same venue on January 25, 2019, Pacio’s Team Lakay teammate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, lost his ONE Flyweight World Champion belt to his Brazilian rival Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 29. Titled “ONE: Hero’s Ascent,” it was the first ONE Championship event in 2019 to take place in the Philippines.
The loss to Saruta at “ONE: Eternal Glory” downgraded Pacio’s professional MMA record to 16 wins and 3 losses. It marked the Filipino fighter’s ninth ONE Championship bout.
Pacio had four previous ONE Championship bouts at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The most recent one was “ONE: Reign of Kings” on July 27, 2018 when he submitted Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit, 22, of Thailand.
Reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 29, of Australia and Vietnam is reportedly headlining “ONE: Roots of Honor.” His rumored challenger is Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa, 43, of Mongolia.
ONE Championship has yet to release the “ONE: Roots of Honor” fight card. Meanwhile, here are Michael Schiavello and Mitch Chilson giving a “ONE: Eternal Glory” recap: