The two athletes will meet center Circle in the main event of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE, set for 8 November at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Pacio is looking for an early and electric finish to please the crowd which will witness a Filipino taking on another Filipino in a World Title bout for the first time since Honorio Banario fought Eric Kelly for the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Title in 2013.
“I mentioned before in an interview that I want to take him out in the first three rounds,” Pacio said.
“It is something I am determined to accomplish, and I know that he plans to do the same. He has been working hard for this opportunity, and I am not willing to let go of this title.”
Catalan has captured gold medals in wushu competitions at the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, Asian Championships, and has won the gold twice in the Wushu World Championship and Wushu World Cup.
His striking skills are undeniably one of the best in the division, and his ground game shouldn’t be taken for granted as well after taking care of business against top grapplers Yoshitaka Naito and Stefer Rahardian.
Pacio is aware of his opponent’s many strengths.
“Sir Rene [Catalan] has been doing this for a very long time, even before I started taking up the sport,” Pacio said.
“His greatest strength would be his wushu striking, and I would not consider his ground game to be his weakness as we have seen in his past bouts. In his tenure as a martial artist, he was able to develop his other skills, and that is why I have a huge level of respect for him.”
Pacio respects his opponent’s strengths and achievements, but he is motivated to bring honor back to his stablemates and the people of his hometown, Baguio.
Pacio has loads of respect for Catalan’s achievements, but he is motivated to bring honor back to his stablemates at Team Lakay and to his hometown fans in Baguio City.
“I will do everything I can to defend my title and show the world the fighting spirit of Team Lakay,” Pacio concluded.
“We failed to have the same success as we had last year, but I am not going to fail my family in Team Lakay on 8 November. This is my time and my title, and I am not going to lose it again.”