Alex Silva on Joshua Pacio's radar as ONE strawweight title challenger
MANILA, Philippines—Joshua Pacio’s not sitting idly on that strawweight throne.
The reigning ONE World strawweight champion is watching over his territory carefully and looking out for possible challengers who’ll attempt to get his hands on his precious strap, and one man Pacio’s focusing on is Brazil’s Alex Silva.
Silva’s (7-2) making his return fight against Japan’s Yosuke Saruta (17-8-3) after losing to former strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito on May 12, 2018.
“Alex Silva’s a former ONE World champion and a third-degree jiu-jitsu black belt, and I have nothing but high regard and respect for Silva,” said Pacio (13-2) who beat Naito for the title on Sept. 22.
Pacio knows Silva is tracking his every move and that the Brazilian is one of the biggest threats in his division.
Silva, known more of a submission specialist, managed to go strike for strike with Naito in their December 2017 fight that saw the Brazilian win the strawweight belt via unanimous decision.
“His first bout with Naito stood out, he improved his striking and the way he outlanded Naito that night got him the belt, however, Naito was ahead in terms of conditioning in the rematch,” said Pacio.
Naito (13-2) was able to regain his strawweight belt from Silva in May before losing it to Pacio in September.
Pacio believes that it’s only a matter of time before he and Silva face each other for the belt.
“We may very well face each other,” said Pacio, who is just one of the four ONE World champions out of Team Lakay. “There’s a rivalry between Team Lakay and Evolve MMA nowadays. This matchup is not far from happening.”
Pacio added that he’s also monitoring the other fighters in his division especially old foes Naito and Hayato Suzuki.
“Yoshitaka Naito, Hayato Suzuki, and Alex Silva are the top contenders and the biggest names in my division, they’re all grapplers but a match will always start standing up,” said Pacio. I have to work on my wrestling defense, make my striking sharper, and not give them a chance to look for a submission.”
Pacio, however, singled out the 36-year-old Silva as the most dangerous of all.
“Suzuki is explosive. Naito, on the other hand, is durable and battle-tested. Silva, meanwhile, is the most well-rounded among the three athletes,” said the 22-year-old Pacio. “His growth as a martial artist is very evident. That’s why I want to test my skills against him.”
Pacio added that Silva could be his opponent in his first title defense in 2019.
“I am looking forward to facing Alex Silva in the near future,” said Pacio. “I want him to win against Yosuke Saruta.”