The comeback bout for former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke took a back seat to the ascension of Joshua Pacio, as the Team Lakay fighter grinded out a hard-fought split decision win at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM on Saturday Night, 11 March.
This was a bout filled with non-stop action, with the Filipino mixed martial artist Pacio controlling the opening two stanzas via takedowns and well-executed ground and pound. With a clear advantage on the feet, Amnuaysirichoke, a former three-time Lumpinee Muay Thai Champion, looked to jump to a fast start in the opener.
The Singaporean-based Thai fighter fired off punches and kicks, but slipped up and allowed Pacio to catch his foot and score a takedown. From there, Amnuaysirichoke spent the bulk of the round staring at the lights, while dodging punches and submission attempts.
Round two held more of the same for Amnuaysirichoke. Pacio caught another of the former champion’s kicks, and the Evolve MMA superstar was re-introduced to the canvas. The Team Lakay fighter was in full control. He peppered his Thai adversary with punches, but was unable to inflict much damage.
Amnuaysirichoke showed a brief sign of life, scrambling to his feet with two minutes left in the round, but surrendered his back in the escape attempt before being dragged back to the mat. The pair exchanged punches on the ground to conclude the second stanza.
Knowing he needed a spectacular finish for a chance to win, Amnuaysirichoke blitzed Pacio in the bout’s final round. The Filipino landed an uppercut early, but was unable to escape his opponent’s persistent attack.
As Amnuaysirichoke continued to stuff Pacio’s takedowns, his confidence grew. Late in the third, the Evolve MMA fighter landed several big right hands and even took Pacio’s back. He left his Filipino rival with a leg kick as a parting gift that landed with a thud to conclude the match.
While one judge was impressed with the third-round heroics, two judges gave the nod to Pacio. The Team Lakay warrior improves his record to 9-1 and is closer to a title rematch against current ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito.
Amnuaysirichoke suffers his second-straight blemish, moving to 6-2, and loses again in Bangkok ten months after dropping the belt to Naito.