Rene “The Challenger” Catalan may very well find himself living up to his nickname in the near future after handing former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito the first stoppage loss of his professional mixed martial arts career.
The Filipino veteran entered the crucial divisional match-up at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR in Yangon, Myanmar on an incredible five-bout win streak.
By delivering his finest performance at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on Friday, 8 March, he proved that he is ready for a crack at the ONE World Title in his weight class.
Filipino warrior Rene Catalan makes it SIX wins in a row with a devastating TKO of former ONE World Champion Yoshitaka Naito at 4:32 of Round 1!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 8 March 2019
While Naito entered the contest with the experience advantage and the grappling edge, it was “The Challenger” who showed he had a winning temperament.
The Japanese star wasted no time in deploying his game plan, as he shot in on Catalan’s legs and took the Wushu World Champion to the canvas in the opening seconds of the strawweight encounter.
Catalan remained composed on the mat and despite some heavy pressure from “Nobita,” he managed to move into an advantageous position on top and connect with a handful of solid punches to his rival’s head.
Naito would not relent on his pursuit of the takedown, however.
The 35-year-old grappling ace paid for his endeavors, as “The Challenger” connected with a fierce knee that wounded the Japanese star.
Sensing his opponent was in trouble, the Filipino unloaded a barrage of ground strikes on “Nobita” and made a concerted push for a finish.
After some heavy shots to Naito’s undefended face, referee Kemp Cheng waved off the contest at 4:32 of round one.
Catalan’s TKO victory lifted his mixed martial arts record to 6-2 and extended his remarkable win streak to six.
It also added the name of the former ONE Strawweight World Champion to a list of victims that also includes Stefer Rahardian and Peng Xue Wen.
Because of this extraordinary win, the 40-year-old may have positioned himself as the next contender for the gold.