ONE Championship will find out who the top strawweight MMA contender is on Friday, Oct. 6, when Mansur Malachiev takes on former ONE strawweight MMA world champion Joshua Pacio in a matchup that promises nonstop action at ONE Fight Night 15.
The Russian dynamo stepped onto the global stage for the first time this summer and promptly defeated Jeremy Miado via submission before calling for his shot for the gold.
That has come about just yet, but he’s preparing to put away “The Passion” to leave no doubt that he should be first in line for reigning king Jarred Brooks.
“I feel good. I’m fired up for this fight. He’s an experienced fighter and was the World Champion in ONE, so I’m training hard to beat him,” Malachiev told ONE.
“A win over Pacio would be a major win for me on my way to the big goal – the ONE belt. My opponent is number one in the division, and a win over him would bring me closer to a world title fight.”
Both men enter with a wealth of finishes under their belt. They showcase impressive, well-rounded skills, and they can compete wherever the action goes.
However, Malachiev is betting that his wrestling background will be more than enough to stifle the Filipino warrior.
“In his arsenal, he has striking and very good wrestling defense, but my wrestling is on a whole different level. We’ll see if he can defend against it,” Malachiev remarked.
“I have been honing my skills for years among the best wrestlers in Dagestan. I’m experienced enough to out-wrestle anyone, and Pacio is no exception.”
With a lifelong knowledge of the canvas-based arts, the 31-year-old is preparing to go the full 15 minutes if needs be. But he wants to leave an emphatic impression on the fans and the matchmakers.
“I think I have all the skills to win. I’m ready for all three rounds, but I plan on finishing Pacio early. I’ll tell [the fans] not to blink as it’s going to be a very entertaining and beautiful fight,” the undefeated contender said.
Like most elite martial artists, he is focused on the top of the mountain. But in this instance, that drive is helped along by the trash talk of the reigning king. With Brooks making it clear he sees a future date against Malachiev, the Russian knows he is on the brink of his dream.
“My goal is the belt, and I don’t care who my opponent is going to be. But since I’m fighting the number one [contender in the division], I want to fight Jarred Brooks, the champion, next,” he said.
“He’s been talking too much about me, and I want to show him what I can do, and then take the belt. He’s never met a fighter like me before. Once I get to him, he’ll realize he’s just a loudmouth.”
ONE Fight Night 15: Le vs. Freymanov airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event is free for all Amazon Prime members based in the U.S. and Canada.
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