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Pacio hopes to uplift Team Lakay with successful title defense vs. Catalan

Joshua Pacio will be defending his ONE Strawweight World Title against Rene Catalan at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on November 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ever since he reclaimed his title from Yosuke Saruta in April, Pacio has been putting the work in at the Team Lakay gym, especially after finding out he will be competing in front of his fellow countrymen.

"My preparations for my next bout are great," Pacio said. "We've been working on some of my weaknesses and strengthening the weapons in my arsenal. As usual, we've been focusing on everything because this is mixed martial arts."

Pacio doesn't want to underestimate his opponent, Catalan, who is riding a six-bout winning streak. The Baguio City native, though, is confident in his preparations ahead of the bout.

"Anything can happen, especially that my opponent is a veteran in combat sports," Pacio said. "I have been preparing for this bout for a long time, and we have seen improvements. There are still a lot of things I need to learn and perfect, but I will make sure that I will be well-rounded in Manila."

After a series of losses for Team Lakay this year, Pacio is highly-motivated to defend his title in Manila. He believes that keeping his world title would boost the morale of his brothers, which would help them reclaim their respective divisions anew.

"I could not put into words the feeling of being victorious on November 8," Pacio said. "To successfully defend my title in front of my countrymen, in my hometown means a lot to the team and me. I know how hard my brothers worked for their previous bouts, so it's heartbreaking to see them lose. I want to return the favor and win to motivate them more so we can go back to the top together."