Chan Rothana has spent practically a lifetime competing in Kun Khmer matches and helping his Cambodian compatriots. Now, he will lean on his veteran experience to bounce back from a bitter loss.
Eight months removed from a stinging defeat, the Cambodian will return to the cage on Friday Night, 21 April, to meet Chinese bantamweight, “The Stalker” Xie Bin, at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. The event will be staged at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
“Xie Bin is a young, talented fighter. He is well-rounded in all aspects of the game, and it will not be an easy fight for both of us,” the 31-year-old Phnom Penh resident explains. “I take this fight as a step. I do not put a lot of pressure [on myself], but I want to make a statement following my last loss.”
The son of a Yutakhun Khom grand master, Rothana is also a Kun Khmer specialist who holds a 4-2 record, with three of those victories coming via TKO and another one via submission. He most recently competed last August at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD, where he was bested by another Chinese fighter, Ma Hao Bin, via unanimous decision.
“Something went wrong during my preparation and I was not 100%. I was getting exhausted at the end of round one,” the Cambodian recalls. “Ma won the decision, but I know I should have won that fight. That is life, and I learn. Now I am preparing very well for this fight with the help of my team.”
While Rothana spends most of his time training out of his own SELAPAK gym, he has spent the majority of his preparation this time around at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. He says the “international training camp offers a very large range of quality sparring partners in all aspects of MMA,” something he cannot receive back home.
The Cambodian may have the experience, but “The Stalker” has youth and a significant height advantage on his side.
Xie, who trains out of Tianjin Top Team, is a ONE Hefei Bantamweight Tournament Finalist. Debuting ten months ago, the Chinese prospect is an even 2-2 in his MMA career. The wrestler and BJJ standout is coming off a convincing decision win over Mario Satya Wirawan at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION last December in Manila.
Though Xie may have form on his side, Rothana refuses to be a stepping stone in the 19-year-old’s rise to stardom. Instead, the proud Cambodian plans to finish the youngster and continue his own ascent up the ranks.
“He wants to show he can beat an experienced guy like me,” Rothana states. “On my side, I want to to make a statement about my future. I want to go as far as possible and get a chance [to fight] for the belt.”