Pacio grinds out split-decision win over former champion

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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.

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Sityodtong thrills fans with huge second-round comeback win

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On Saturday Night, 11 March, the hometown hero survived an early onslaught from two-time Philippines Kyokushin karate national champion Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales, earning a second-round TKO at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

Sityodtong, a former WBA Super Featherweight World Champion, was the elder statesman in tonight’s fight. With a 2-1 record, his transition to MMA after a highly decorated boxing career of 58-3-1 (47 KOs) had thus far been a modest success, but Gonzales would put that to the test.

The Filipino showed off his prestigious karate background early with an array of kicks, including one that swept Sityodtong off his feet. Although the Evolve MMA product got back up, Gonzales took him down, and for about a minute, it looked like “Little Tyson” could turn that into a guillotine choke. Gonzales, however, was able to pop his head free as Sityodtong’s arms grew tired.

The rest of the first frame favored Gonzales, as he used an effective top game to spin to side control and hunt for submissions. When Sityodtong tried to push him back to guard, Gonzales responded with a full mount. The Singaporean-based Thai then gave up his back to the strikes, and had to fight off two rear-naked choke attempts, including one that lasted right until the bell.

“Little Tyson” was in big trouble after being dominated to end the opening stanza, but one explosive punch early in the second round changed his fortune. Gonzales suddenly seemed spent from all the energy he expended going for submissions, eating furious right hands until he sat on the fence, stunned.

Referee Yuji Shimada called for the Filipino to stand when Sityodtong stood up, and he did so slowly and reluctantly. Sityodtong just continued to pour it on.

The end came as both men were exchanging strikes on their knees, with the boxing veteran landing devastating shots, then backing off to force another stand-up. Gonzales was unable to answer the referee’s call to do so, which led to an official finish via verbal submission at 3:21 in round number two.

Sityodtong improves to 3-1 with the win, while Gonzales falls to 1-2 with the loss.

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Decorated Muay Thai champion Petpayathai wins MMA debut

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The man known as “Deadly Star” returned to the Impact Arena in his old stomping grounds of Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday Night, 11 March, and won his first mixed martial arts about with relative ease.

He stopped Malaysia’s Kelvin “Ice Man” Ong in the first round of their featherweight bout at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM.

Ong, who trains out of Borneo Tribal Squad, fearlessly came forward, but was clipped by Petpayathai’s left hand only 25 seconds into the contest. The Thai then unleashed a kick to his opponent’s body, pummelled him with another left, defended a takedown, and whipped another body kick home.

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Looking to avoid more punishment, the “Ice Man” tied his opponent against the cage and tried to catch his breath. Petpayathai, however, remained busy with his back against the fence, as he delivered some sharp elbows and thunderous knees. Ong was sent reeling backwards, and “Deadly Star” followed up with a barrage of left hands.

Referee Yuii Shimada felt the Malaysian had had enough, and waived the fight off at the 2:20 mark of the first round, giving Petpayathai the TKO in his MMA debut.

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“I am so proud to be here to show Muay Thai to all thai fans here. My goal is to be the champion, the world champion of ONE Championship,” the Thai said in the center of the cage.

Petpayathai, who trains out of Evolve MMA, is officially 1-0 in his MMA career. As for Ong, he drops to 1-1.

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