Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 40, of Iloilo, Philippines is set for the biggest battle of his career in ONE Championship. He is wrapping up the most rigorous training camp he has ever had as he takes on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 35, of Chiba, Japan at “ONE: Reign of Valor” at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on March 8, 2019.
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. The Filipino contender said, “Definitely, this is the toughest and biggest match of my career.”
“Naito is a former World Champion, well-experienced and we all know how dangerous he is on the mat,” Catalan continued. “But I’m confident with my skills and I will do whatever it takes to win and get my title shot.”
The battle between Catalan and Naito is another classic striker versus grappler match-up with the Filipino fighter getting the advantage on the feet being a multiple-time Wushu World Champion himself. On other hand, the Japanese contender will expectedly be looking to turn this into a grappling match-up as the bout will expectedly tilt to his favor the moment it hits the ground and when that happens, his Filipino opponent 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,” Catalan shared. “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, 23, in their rematch September 22, 2018.
Catalan made a promise to do everything he can to go past the former World Champion from Japan. He said, “I’ve been training for these kinds of guys for so long, and I’ve been training hard almost every day.”
“I feel good and confident about this match,” the Iloilo native added. “I will win in Yangon and put myself closer to my dream of becoming a World Champion.”
Watch one of Catalan’s previous ONE Championship bouts here: