The final ONE card of the year, ONE 164: Pacio vs Brooks took place this weekend, and did not disappoint – here are five things we took away from a great card to close out the year
Amir Aliakbari had waited more than two years to get his shot at Brandon Vera – and when it came it did not disappoint. The Iranian smashed his way to a first round TKO win against the former world champion, ending the fight on the floor with some solid ground and pound. That makes it back-to-back wins for Aliakbari now, and he will be starting to look at a push towards the heavyweight title.
Brooks dominates to take the title
The lead up to this one had been filled with genuine dislike between Joshua Pacio and Jarred Brooks, but it would be American Brooks who would leave with the bragging rights after this one. In truth, he bossed four of the five rounds using his wrestling effectively while landing some decent shots in the striking battle too. Pacio wasn’t allowed to find a rhythm and ultimately Brooks became the strawweight world champion with a unanimous decision. Afterwards he paid tribute to Pacio, ending the months of bad blood prior to the fight.
One of the biggest winners on the night was Jeremy Pacatiw. The 26-year-old picked up the biggest win of his career in stopping Tial Thang – and a $50k performance bonus to go along with it. The bantamweight sealed the deal with a slick second round submission, locking in a triangle choke after a series of sub attempts. That puts him back in the win column and looking to push on in 2023.
Superlek gets a close call
After an incredible eight fights, there is still very little to choose between Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Panpayak Jitmuangnon. Panpayak might still lead that series 4-3-1 but this was a night of celebration for Superlek who grabbed a split decision after three tough rounds. He now goes into his ONE flyweight kickboxing world title fight against defending king Ilias Ennahachi on January 13 with a confidence boost and some extra momentum.
End of an era for Brandon Vera
In the lead up to the event, it had been suggested that if he lost, Brandon Vera could potentially leave his gloves in the circle, and so it proved to be. At 45 years old, the former heavyweight world champion decided to call it a day after his loss to Aliakbari. A win may have seen him take another run towards a title shot, but it was not to be. It has been a long and illustrious career for Vera, who can now enjoy retirement with a title they can never take away – legend.