March 1, 2024

Far from the northern camp, Filipino mixed martial arts fighter Rene Catalan is hoping to earn a second shot at the ONE strawweight world title.
The belt is currently held by Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio while Catalan is ranked number three in the division.
“I may be a bit older now, but make no mistake about it, I am still gunning for my dreams of one day winning a world title,” the 41-year-old Ilongo fighter said.
“I am willing to face anyone to get there, although I hope to avoid fellow Filipinos.”
It is clear Catalan would prefer not to face fifth-ranked compatriot Lito Adiwang.
However, that still leaves three other men directly in his crosshairs: First-ranked strawweight contender Yosuke Saruta, second-ranked contender Yoshitaka Naito, and fourth-ranked Alex Silva.
Aside from Adiwang, the Japanese star is the only ranked contender Catalan has not faced yet.
“Saruta is a very good athlete. He is really strong. I believe that if he did not make a mistake against Joshua Pacio in April 2019, he would have defeated him and retained the strawweight world title,” Catalan said.
He is also ready for a rematch with either Naito or Silva.
The Filipino’s professional MMA debut came against Silva seven years ago.
Silva made quick work of Catalan, winning via armbar in the first round, but the Iloilo City native knows he is a completely different competitor now.
“If I face Silva again, I have to really focus on ground defense. It’s all about good preparation when facing someone as dangerous as him,” he said.
In March 2019, 
Catalan became the first man to finish Naito via knockout, which the former believes the latter would be very eager to even the score.
“He will definitely work double-time against me. He can certainly adjust like what he did against Alex Silva,” Catalan said. – ONE release