Joshua Pacio made Jarred Brooks work for it but the American finally secured the ONE Championship strawweight title with a convincing decision win in Manila. The two men shared the cage for 25 minutes but whereas the Filipino was unable to do any significant damage with his striking the challenger scored with submission attempts and ground and pound.

Pacio got off to a bad start when he was taken down inside the first 30 seconds. He remained there for the remainder of the opening round but Brooks was unable to capitalize despite being in a dominant position.

During the second round Pacio succeeded in keeping the fight standing but it was Brooks who got the better of the exchanges. He scored with some punches and even attempted a high kick, effectively beating the champion at his own game.

In the third round Pacio fended off his opponents takedown attempts but ate a right elbow from Brooks on the break. Once again the challenger looked more of a threat in the striking exchanges, landing with slightly more consistency than the champion.

No doubt

In the fourth round Brooks finally succeeded in putting Pacio on his back again. He caught a body kick and was able to immediately close the distance and drag him down.

Brooks looked close to finishing the fight with a rear naked choke but Pacio survived until the bell. With just over a minute remaining in the final round he scored another takedown to dispel any doubts about the destination of the belt.

All three judges scored the fight for Brooks who moves up to 20-2 and become the new ONE Championship strawweight champion. Pacio drops to 20-4 after losing the title for the second time.

Best of the restΒ 

Amir Aliakbari (12-3) finished Brandon Vera (16-10-0-1) in the opening round. One takedown was all it took for the Iranian who finished UFC veteran with ground and pound.

Afterwards Vera announced his retirement, calling the curtain on a career that began in 2002 and saw him face the likes of Mauricio Rua, Jon Jones, Randy Couture, Fabricio Werdum and Tim Sylvia .

ONE 158, Manila, December 3rd
Jarred Brooks def. Joshua Pacio via Decision (Unanimous)
Muay Thai: Superlek Kiatmuu9 def. Panpayak Jitmuangnon via Decision (Split)
Amir Aliakbari def. Brandon Vera via TKO (Elbows and punches) at 3:37 of R1
Hu Yong def. Geje Eustaquio via KO (Punch) at 4:43 of R1
Jeremy Pacatiw def. Tial Thang via Submission (Triangle choke) at 1:17 of R2
Drex Zamboanga def. Adonis Sevilleno via Decision (Unanimous)
Jhanlo Mark Sangiao def. Anacleto Lauron via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 1:48 of R1
Muay Thai: Tagir Khalilov def. Chorfah Tor Sangtiennoi via TKO (Punch) at 2:29 of R1
Muay Thai: Lara Fernandez def. via Dangkongfah Banchamek via Decision (Split)
Meng Bo def. Jenelyn Olsim via KO (Punches and elbows) at 0:24 of R1