Victorious Pongsiri Mitsatit sets his sights on Joshua Pacio.

Thai strawweight standout Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit found redemption at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT with a sensational first-round knockout of Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan. Following the victory, Mitsatit expressed his intent to pursue the World Championship.

With the bout against Catalan taking place in Bangkok, in front of Mitsatit’s hometown crowd, the Thai warrior had everything he needed to secure the win. Though he is a complete martial artist, Mitsatit’s striking weapons were on full display, enabling him to land some good hard shots to Catalan’s midsection.

But before turning the lights out on Catalan, Mitsatit was able to showcase his grappling defense in fending off the Filipino’s submission attempts.

“I knew he was going to come out hard from the opening bell and try to take me down. He’s a really strong wrestler, but his strikes aren’t as powerful,” Mitsatit said. “My corner told me to feint in, defend the takedowns, and use my knees. When he did get me down, I just stayed calm and focused on getting back up.”

The Chang Mai warrior was relentless as he exhibited good cage control against his rival.

The Tiger Muay Thai representative used every weapon in his arsenal to his advantage. As he backed Catalan up against the cage, Mitsatit ended the bout with a well-executed knee to the body at just past the 3-minute mark of the very first round.

“I knew the knees were hurting him, so it gave me more confidence. After that, I went for the KO,” he says.

“I thought that if I could land a knee that would fully connect, it would finish him. The initial knees I landed weren’t enough, so I just kept trying.”

As the referee intervened to call a halt to the contest, the entire Impact Arena crowd erupted in a chorus of cheers.

“I’m really happy I was able to execute my game plan and win by KO. It felt especially good to make my coaches proud,” adds Mitsatit. “There were so many people there cheering for me, I really was motivated to win, and felt the pressure of my last two losses on me.”

It was indeed a remarkable victory for Mitsatit.

After a challenging 2018, he is now prepared to take his career a step higher, as he aims to exact revenge against the man who submitted him last year with a maneuver called “The Passion Lock.”

Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio forced the tap from Mitsatit with a wrenching reverse keylock. The submission move earned the Filipino World Champion “Submission of the Year” honors in 2018.

But Mitsatit feels he has improved drastically since then, and now looks to make a run at a Pacio rematch.

“[My win] has given me the motivation to do better, train harder, and try to get myself into World Title contention,” he says. “I need to keep training and get more experience. Whenever ONE calls me, I’ll be ready to compete again. The sooner the better.

“I feel like another two or three wins will earn me a World Title shot. My goal is early next year, but if the opportunity comes sooner, I’ll make sure to be ready.

“Joshua Pacio is the reigning World Champion. I’d need to train really hard, but I still think I can beat him. I’m just resting at home in Chiang Mai, but I will head back to Tiger to train shortly.”

Next: The 5 defining moments of Martin Nguyen’s ONE Championship career

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