ONE FC: Pacio eyes interim flyweight world title vs Akhmetov

John Pacio (ONE Championship photo)

John Pacio (ONE Championship photo)

ONE Championship (ONE) will return to the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 for “ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES.” The main event will pit Team Lakay’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio against Kairat Akhmetov for the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “This is the first in four blockbuster events in Manila in 2018, and ONE Championship is looking to kick things off with a spectacular show. Fans of martial arts in the Philippines are among the most passionate in the world, and it is our honor to present the best in local and global martial arts talent. The Mall of Asia Arena will be pulsating with excitement as hometown hero Geje Eustaquio takes on Kairat Akhmetov in a highly-anticipated main event rematch. This time, it’s for the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship.”

Top flyweight contender and former world title challenger Geje Eustaquio of Baguio City is one of the most skilled martial artists in Asia, and a highly-decorated wushu practitioner. His solid striking and grappling skill set has led to huge victories over the course of a seven-year professional career. Training in the high altitudes of the Philippines’ Summer capital, Eustaquio hones his craft alongside world-class teammates at the fabled Team Lakay.

Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov is a veteran martial artist from Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 30-year-old boasts a solid 24-1 professional record amassed during a stellar martial arts career which has seen him dominate his opponents with tenacious wrestling and powerful striking. In his most recent appearance inside the ONE Championship cage, Akhmetov defeated Geje Eustaquio via closely-contested three-round split decision.

In other cards, Joshua Pacio of Baguio City is one of the fastest rising martial arts stars from the Philippines. Pacio is looking to bring himself back to title contention with another victory. A tough task is ahead of Pacio, however, as he is slated to lock horns with Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit. Mitsatit is an undefeated martial artist from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and was previously a North Thailand Muay Thai champion with a 72-17 record, which included 49 KOs.

Featherweight standout Eric “The Natural” Kelly of Baguio City is widely considered one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines. He will face Rafael Nunes, a martial artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil with a 10-1 record. He is the former Premier FC Lightweight Champion and has steamrolled through the competition in his home country with a knack for winning by exciting finish.

Bulgarian martial artist Sotir Kichukov is a ONE Championship flyweight contender and former Max Bantamweight Champion. Representing Saigon Sports Club, Kichukov is set to return to the ONE Championship cage to take on China’s Ma Hao Bin.

Chinese national freestyle wrestling champion “The Southern Eagle” Ma Hao Bin is unbeaten inside the ONE Championship cage. He takes on Sotir Kichukov next.

Yago Bryan of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a former Shooto South American Strawweight Champion who took on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in his promotional debut. Making his way back to the ONE Championship cage, Bryan is set to take on Hayato Suzuki – a veteran martial artist with an impressive professional record of 17-1 with two draws.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Bruno “Pucci Bull” Pucci is a No-Gi world champion from Brazil who is based out of Singapore. He will take on Emilio Urrutia, an American martial arts talent from Miami, Florida.

Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly is a 33-year old Filipino martial arts talent and one of the brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the Philippines. He takes on Meas Meul, an undefeated martial artist with a professional record of 6-0.

Rajinder Singh “Knockout” Meena of India is a martial artist competing in the ONE Championship lightweight division. He is set to take on rising star Zhang Ze Hao, a martial artist from China and one of the top Chinese lightweight prospects.