Robin Catalan had been sidelined for much of 2016 with a slew of nagging injuries. On Friday Night, 21 April, after a year away from the sport, he returned with an improved wrestling game at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY.
The 26-year-old known as “The Ilongo” tamed previously-undefeated promotional newcomer, Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado, in a Filipino strawweight showdown via split decision at a packed Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
Much of the opening stanza was a riveting back-and-forth affair. The lanky Miado initially kept the distance with his significant reach advantage, but the thickly-built Catalan secured the takedown. From there, the pace was set. The two would constantly exchange various strikes and explosive takedowns, which brought the crowd to its feet.
The fast and furious pace slowed down in the second round. Nearly a minute into the frame, Miado, who has a highly respectable amateur boxing background, started getting into a rhythm, and was clipping Catalan with powerful punches.
At times, “The Jaguar” even rocked his fellow countryman, but as the stanza progressed, “The Ilongo” leaned on his heavily-improved grappling skills. Catalan was able to secure a few solid takedowns, where he picked his shots on the ground and caught his breath.
The third round was more calculated, with each martial artist leaning towards their strengths and what had been working for them. Miado immediately connected with some punches and a sharp knee, and the two traded kicks before Catalan was back on the hunt for the takedown. A minute and a half into the stanza, he brought “The Jaguar” to the mat yet again.
Miado was able to get back to his feet, but the Catalan Fighting System fighter was relentless with his wrestling. Halfway through the round, Miado nearly submitted “The Ilongo” with a tight guillotine choke, but Catalan was able to slide out and rain down punishment. Though Yuji Shimada stood them back up for inactivity, Catalan was able to slam Miado one more time before the thriller of an opening bout concluded.
Catalan, who has not competed since March 2016, successfully re-started his MMA career and moved his record to 6-2. Miado, however, receives the first blemish on his professional record and falls to 6-1.