Elipitua “The Magician” Siregar is a man on two missions.
When he returns to the Circle next Friday, 14 January, the Indonesian mixed martial artist will be looking to make a statement in ONE Championship’s strawweight ranks.
He will square off against Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan in the opening bout of ONE: HEAVY HITTERS at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, knowing that a victory could pave the way for either warrior to climb the divisional ladder.
But for the Bali-based fighter, a triumph would hold even greater significance, as this matchup offers the chance to defend his country’s pride against its longtime kryptonite.
The 31-year-old Catalan has already defeated two of Indonesia’s top talents – Adrian “Papua Badboy” Mattheis and Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian – and the Filipino veteran hopes to complete the hat trick against another rising star from his neighboring country.
However, Siregar is determined to end the unfavorable streak with a decisive result.
“I will have to dominate and get a clear win to show that both of my seniors lost not because they were not skillful, but because of other things, probably,” he says.
“Hopefully, Stefer, my senior [at Bali MMA], will show me some clues or a better game plan to face Catalan, so I can win. I really expect to partner with Stefer, especially as we have been training together, and I hope this partnership will be smooth and I can win against Robin.
“[I want to win] as soon as possible, in the first round.”
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If his track record is any indication, Siregar has what it takes to earn a victory over Catalan.
His ground-fighting skill, coupled with new tricks from Rahardian and his coaches, could prove crucial in the upcoming mission. Moreover, he’s been sharpening his striking repertoire and believes he can outbox the Filipino Wushu Champion.
“I have a sparring partner who is in a heavier division, so I can chase and improve my performance even more,” Siregar says.
“If it is said that Robin’s Muay Thai skills are good, we have better ones at Bali MMA. I usually spar with [ONE bantamweight] Muhammad Aiman for now, [as well as local fighters such as] Lamhot Buha and Prawira, all in a division above mine. They also have good Muay Thai skills.
“Sparring with Aiman is difficult due to his tall posture length. But it’s exactly what I need to make me accustomed to long-range strikers.”
“The Magician” is fully focused on the clash with Catalan, but he also hopes to reach new heights for his country on the global stage.
Beating a veteran who’s already vanquished his talented compatriots would go a long way toward that goal – and potentially offer the chance to face a top-ranked strawweight in 2022.
“My dream is to become a World Title contender in ONE Championship, because Indonesia has yet to have any title contender or a World Championship,” Siregar says. “That is my dream.”
It all starts in ONE’s first bout of the year, where the young upstart will have a chance for revenge against “The Ilonggo.” For now, he is simply offering some final words of warning to his opponent.
“I know you have good takedown defense because you are coming from wushu,” Siregar adds. “But I will definitely seek a submission.”