No Jitters For Rocel Catalan As She Makes OWS Debut

Filipina atomweight Rocel “The Ilongga” Catalan will be competing in Rich Franklin’s developmental league for the first time and she promises there will be no “first-time jitters” when she steps inside the ONE Circle.

Catalan will be taking on Ji Yeon “Honey Bee” Seo of South Korea in a three-round atomweight contest at ONE Warrior Series 9 in Singapore this coming Wednesday, 4 December.

“I’m very excited! This is my first time to compete in ONE Warrior Series. It’s everyone’s dream to fight in the biggest promotion on the planet and I don’t have any plans of wasting this golden opportunity,” Catalan said.

Instead of feeling the pressure, the Iloilo City native is instead focusing on the opportunity that is in front of her.

“The Ilongga” comes from the famous Catalan martial arts family which is led by his older brother, ONE Strawweight World Title contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.

That is the very footsteps that she wants to follow.

“I’ve been training non-stop since the moment they told me that I will be competing in ONE Warrior Series. I focused on developing my tools especially my cardio given that this will be my first match in almost 16 months,” Catalan shared.

“I will display everything we worked inside the gym, and I’ll make sure that my hand will be raised after the match.”

But despite Catalan’s confidence, to secure her second mixed martial arts victory, she needs to overcome the tremendous challenge she will be facing in the hands of Seo

The Top Gym BF and Gym Lab representative holds an impressive record of 8-4 and is currently on a two-match winning streak. In her last OWS bout at ONE Warrior Series 6 in Singapore last June, the lanky South Korean dominated Edilah Nadrah “Ilah” Johany of Malaysia en route to a third-round TKO win.

“I know that Ji Yeon Seo is a great athlete that’s why I focused on both my stand-up game and ground game, knowing that my opponent is very well rounded,” Catalan shared.

“My team [also] created a perfect game plan for this bout we respect her skills and we are aware that she is a tough opponent, but I am ready for the challenge.”

“I have trained all areas of MMA, of course, [but] my background is rather focused on striking, especially having a strong background in wushu,” she added. “That’s why I see this as my strength in this fight against Seo.”

Though the South Korean atomweight will provide a stiff test, “The Ilongga” is not doubting her skills heading into the contest.

“This is a perfect chance for me to end the year strong and to start my ONE Warrior Series journey with a win,” Catalan said.

“I know I have the tools to succeed, this is a very important match for me, It’s not just taking opportunities but believing in myself that I can do it. Being a warrior is in my blood.”

Author: Robert Belen

Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen

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