[PHOTOS] Japan vs Philippines: Yoshitaka Naito, Rene Catalan fight at ‘ONE: Reign of Valor’ in Yangon, Myanmar


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Japan and the Philippines were two of the 21 countries represented at “ONE: Reign of Valor,” the first ONE Championship event in 2019 held in Myanmar. The Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion held it at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on March 8, 2019.

“ONE: Reign of Valor” featured nine MMA matches and five ONE Super Series contests, which are kickboxing bouts. In the 11th bout of the evening, Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 35, of Japan faced Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 40, of the Philippines.

Naito was one of the four fighters who represented Japan at “ONE: Reign of Valor.” Catalan was one of the two representatives of the Philippines.

Blue Corner

Naito is  a former Shooto Flyweight Champion and a former ONE Strawweight World Champion. He held the title from May 27, 2016 to December 9, 2017 and from May 12, 2018 to September 22, 2018.

At the age of 22, Naito started his martial arts training. He has been competing professionally since 2012.

Red Corner

Catalan won both the Wushu World Championship and Wushu World Cup two times each. He has also won gold medals for wushu at the Asian Games, South East Asian Games and Asian Championships.

Hailing from Iloilo, Philippines, Catalan is currently based in the capital of his home country. He is the head coach of Catalan Fighting System.

Fight Result

Naito and Catalan competed in an MMA match in the strawweight division. The Filipino fighter knocked out his Japanese opponent via strikes after 4 minutes and 32 seconds in the first round.

Winning at “ONE: Reign of Valor” improved Catalan’s professional MMA record to 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 No Contest. On the other hand, Naito now has 13 wins and 3 losses.

“ONE: Reign of Valor” Main Events

Georgiy “Knight” Kichigin, 28, of Kazakhstan challenged reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, 28, of Sweden in the main event.

Phoe “Bushido” Thaw, 34, of Myanmar faced “The Iceman” Yohan Mulia Legowo, 38, of Indonesia in the co-main event. The Burmese contender knocked out his Indonesian opponent in the second round.

Georgiy “Knight” Kichigin, 28, of Kazakhstan challenged reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, 28, of Sweden in the main event. After two five-minute rounds, the Swedish defending champion won via technical knockout via retirement.

Australia, Cambodia, China, Finland, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Thailand and the United Kingdom were also represented at “ONE: Reign of Valor.” Check the complete results on Conan Daily.

3 reasons why Filipinos should watch ‘ONE: Reign of Valor’ on March 8, 2019

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ONE Championship will once again make its return to Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, 8 March for ONE: REIGN OF VALOR at the iconic Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.

While all of the Filipino champions are scheduled in ONE: A NEW ERA, there are still plenty of reasons for local martial arts from the Philippines to tune-in and enjoy another loaded match card.

Here are just three main reasons why ONE: REIGN OF VALOR is a must-see.


Rene Catalan’s path to desired ONE World Title shot

Rene “The Challenger” Catalan’s amazing run in the talent-filled strawweight division is something that cannot be overlooked anymore.

After losing his first two matches in ONE Championship, Catalan finally found his rhythm and is now riding high on a five-match winning streak.

Standing in his way is former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, who undoubtedly poses to be the ultimate test to Catalan’s World Title aspirations.

It will be a classic striker-versus-grappler affair, but Catalan has shown tremendous improvement when it comes to grappling in his previous matches.

At age 40, Catalan shows no signs of slowing down, and if he keeps his pace, then the next Filipino World Champion could very well come from the Catalan Fighting System.


Road to redemption of Jomary Torres

Jomary Torres is an exciting young Filipina who burst into the organization’s stacked women’s atomweight scene with three consecutive victories.

She may be on a slump as of late following consecutive decision losses to Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaul and Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi, but those define does not ultimately define her as a mixed martial arts competitor.

Admittedly struggling to ankle issues in her past bouts, Torres has completed her training camp in tip-top condition and is raring to go back to her winning ways.

Given that her back is against the wall, Torres vows to be aggressive as she cannot afford to lose her third-straight match.

While her opponent in Lin Heqin is known for her willingness to stand and trade, this match has the potential to steal the whole show.


Zebaztian Kadestam’s first ONE World Title defense

Headlining the blockbuster event is knockout artist Zebaztian Kadestam as he defends his ONE Welterweight World Title against surging submission wizard Georgiy Kichigin, who is coming into ONE Championship on 14-match winning streak with his last victory coming against another submission artist in Rousimar Palhares. With World Title gold on the line, the stakes could not be higher in this classic clash of styles.

Kadestam trained out of Legacy Gym in Boracay, Aklan, Philippines under the tutelage of decorated kickboxer Ole Laursen from 2012 to 2017. On November 17, 2018, Kadestam put everyone on notice when he knocked out previously unbeaten American fighter Tyler McGuire to be crowned as the ONE Welterweight World Champion.

The win over McGuire was Kadestam’s ninth knockout victory. This made the Swedish champ one of the most fearsome competitors in the whole organization.

With two world-class talents bannering the card, there is no reason for Filipino martial arts fans to miss this event. Meanwhile, here is a clip from the “ONE: Reign of Valor” open workout:

Rene Catalan: Yoshitaka Naito is dangerous but I’m confident

Rene Catalan
Rene Catalan

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:

Rene Catalan: Jomary Torres has to be explosive at ‘ONE: Reign of Valor’ in Yangon, Myanmar

Jomary Torres
Jomary Torres

For Catalan Fighting System head coach Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, his student Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres needs to step up more than ever. Having absorbed consecutive decision losses in her last two outings, she takes on China’s Lin Heqin at “ONE: Reign of Valor” on March 8, 2019 at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

Catalan knows how damaging a third-straight loss would be for his ward. He hopes to see the Torres of old, the one who won three consecutive matches to open her campaign in ONE Championship.

“She has to be explosive and impressive in her upcoming fight,” Catalan said of Torres. “We cannot afford to have a third consecutive defeat.”

Torres suffered decision losses to Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol and former ONE World Title contender Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi to end 2018. But if there is one reason to be hopeful for Catalan, it is the fact that they are going to finish this training camp seamlessly without any hiccups, major or minor.

According to Catalan, Torres had to prepare with ankle issues in the past, something that they finally avoided for this contest. He shared, “Our training went well this time around unlike her last couple of fights when she had problems with her ankle.”

Now that Catalan was successful in preparing Torres physically, he will have to focus on getting her confidence back. It is not easy, especially coming from consecutive losses, but he was happy to see that her head is in the right place heading into this critical match-up.

“I told her to take those losses as a learning experience and that we must properly execute our game plan moving forward,” Catalan said. “She was in high spirits even after losing. Everything I tell her she absorbs.”

“We might go for a stoppage in this fight,” Catalan added. “We are prepared to do everything. We already have a game plan that only needs to be followed.”

Watch one of Torres’s previous bouts here:

Iloilo’s Robin Catalan honored to represent Philippines at ‘ONE: Kingdom of Heroes’ in Thailand

Robin Catalan, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke
Robin Catalan, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke

The Philippines will be well-represented when ONE Championship returns to Bangkok for what will be Thailand’s biggest martial arts event of the year. One of the two Filipino mixed martial artists on the “ONE: Kingdom of Heroes” card is Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, 30, of Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines.

“It’s a gigantic honor,” Catalan said. “I can’t believe that I will be on the same stage as some of the best martial artists in the world. I promise to do the country proud.”

Taking place at the 11,000-seater Impact Arena in Bangkok on October 6, 2018, “ONE: Kingdom of Heroes” will feature 6 mixed martial arts matches and 8 ONE Super Series striking-only contests, which include 1 boxing bout. In the sixth bout of the evening, Catalan will compete in an MMA bout in the strawweight division against Hayato Suzuki, 32, of Misato, Saitama, Japan.

Catalan is excited to be flying the Philippine flag in an event with the type of magnitude that “ONE: Kingdom of Heroes” possesses. He is one of the younger brothers of Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, who competes in the strawweight division of ONE Champion.

It was Rene who was originally scheduled to face Suzuki at “ONE: Kingdom of Heroes.” However, the former was injured so he was replaced by his younger brother.

Representing the Philippines alongside Robin at “ONE: Kingdom of Heroes” is Kyokushin Karate black belt Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales, who makes his return to the ONE Championship stage against Indonesia’s Dodi “The Maung” Mardian in the card’s opening flyweight contest.

“ONE: Kingdom of Heroes” will be headlined by a highly-anticipated WBC Super Flyweight World Championship boxing match between Thailand’s very own reigning champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Mexican challenger Iran “MagnifiKO” Diaz. Here is a clip featuring the two boxers:

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