In a few days, Rene “The Challenger” Catalan is set for the biggest battle of his career in ONE Championship.
The 40-year-old Iloilo native is wrapping up the most rigorous training camp he has ever had as he takes on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR, which emanates from the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium at Yangon, Myanmar this Friday, 8 March.
Knowing what is at stake in the contest, Catalan is leaving no stones unturned as he puts his five-match winning streak on the line against the submission wizard like Naito.
“Definitely, this is the toughest and biggest match of my career,” he stressed.
“Naito is a former World Champion, well-experienced and we all know how dangerous he is on the mat, but I’m confident with my skills and I will do whatever it takes to win and get my title shot.”
The battle between the two is another classic striker versus grappler match-up with Catalan getting the advantage on the feet being a multiple-time Wushu World Champion himself.
Naito, on other hand, will expectedly be looking to turn this into a grappling match-up as the bout will expectedly tilt to the Japanese’s favor the moment it hits the ground.
When that happens, Catalan vows to be ready.
“For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on my ground game, especially with my takedown defense with the help of our Philippine and SEA Games wrestling champ Roque Verangel Mana-ay Jr,” he bared.
“This is definitely one of the best camps I had, which is just in time for the most important match of my career.”
After starting with two loss in ONE Championship, Catalan is just a stone’s throw away from reaching his ultimate goal of winning a World Title.
Standing in his way is Naito, who looks to redeem himself after relinquishing the ONE Strawweight World Championship to Joshua “The Passion” Pacio in their September 2018 rematch.
Catalan made a promise to do everything he can to go past the former World Champion from Japan.
“I’ve been training for these kinds of guys for so long, and I’ve been training hard almost everyday.” he stated.
“I feel good and confident about this match. I will win in Yangon and put myself closer to my dream of becoming a World Champion.”