The contest was one of the best bouts of the night and saw Rothana hand his opponent the first defeat of his career in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The victory came courtesy of a huge left hand which stunned the Indonesian, a thumping right knee to the chin that dropped him, and then a salvo of unstoppable ground and pound.
It capped an energetic performance that had the crowd on their feet in excitement.
In an absolute barnburner, Chan Rothana stops Abro Fernandes with strikes at 4:06 of Round 2!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast.
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, December 7, 2018
The pace of the bout was relentless from the beginning, and Rothana had to deal with early adversity as Fernandes held the upper hand. His takedowns and submission attempts made it seem like he would leave the Axiata arena with his perfect record intact.
But the Cambodian stayed composed, weathered the storm then came roaring back to finish his opponent in the final minute of the second round.
“During the fight, I was calm – I didn’t feel anything,” says Rothana.
“Because we studied him, I felt I could manage his methods and anticipate his attacks, especially the kicks.”
The match-up saw Rothana return to action after a year and a half away from the cage, but the ONE Cambodia Featherweight Grand Prix finalist delivered the goods on his comeback using his Kun Khmer striking to power his way to a highlight-reel finish.
“In the second round, I measured his power because I knew that he had already used a lot of his energy with his takedowns,” he explains.
“I tried to break him by kicking him hard and landing as many heavy punches as possible, and in the end, I finally got the chance.”
The 32-year-old Cambodian credits his success to his renewed focus on maintaining a relentless approach in the cage, and his unwillingness to quit.
That helped him to pick up his fifth professional victory and maintain his 100 percent finishing rate.
If he can build on that by harnessing his dedication to leaving everything in the cage, he could be set for a banner year in 2019.
“I would much rather hurt my body than hurt my feelings again,” he explains.
“The last time I fought, I lost, and my feelings were much more hurt than my body.
“This time I wanted to make sure that I gave everything, even if it meant that I had to break my whole body.
“When I was struck, I almost blacked out, but I ignored the pain, gathered all my strength and kept going forward.”
Rothana says he is determined that he will not go so long without seeing action again, and he plans to return to the cage in the New Year.
His desire to return is buoyed by his latest success and his passion for competition, but he explains his greatest motivation is his desire to make his fans proud.
“The most important thing is my fans, I don’t want to see them sad when I lose,” he says.
“Thank you to my Cambodian fans and friends who watched me. Thank you for your love and support. Please continue to support all of our fighters, both those who fight in or outside our country – it helps us to bring the victory home.”
Rothana’s win was preceded by his compatriot Sovannahry Em’s victory in her ONE debut, which made Friday, 7 December a great night for Cambodian mixed martial arts. Their countrymen had more to shout about than at any other event this year.
Expect an inspired Rothana to put on another all-action display in an attempt to continue this form and give his fans another reason to celebrate in 2019.