Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan is not afraid to grapple with ONE Championship’s most elite grappler at ONE: Masters of Fate.
This is because the Filipino IFMA Muay Thai World Champion has shown that his ground game has evolved to be just as good as his stand-up.
The 29-year-old is confident that all his hard work at the Catalan Fighting System gym these past few months will be enough to give his hometown crowd a famous win next Friday, November 8.
He believes his grappling will be honed to perfection to stop takedowns from Greco-Roman wrestling Olympian Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart in Manila.
“I’m really excited for this match. This is where I will prove that I have improved, especially on the ground,” said Catalan.
“We all know about the quality of his wrestling, but I am confident in my skills.”
Catalan’s Cuban rival is a three-time Pan American Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion, and has translated those skills to the mixed martial arts arena to claim eight wins as a professional.
Catalan has endured a string of losses because his opponents have been considerably bigger than he was. He confident that his luck is about to change.
“The Ilonggo” expects Balart to be a powerhouse at strawweight. He has formulated a game plan to stay away from danger and play to his own strengths.
“I expect him to be really physically strong,” the 29-year-old said.
“I know he’s done a lot in his career and I’ll have my hands full, but I’ve been training hard on my wrestling defense while sharpening my striking at the same time.
“I know [striking] will be a big factor in getting a win against Balart. I’ll keep my distance, and I will maximize all my advantages so I can get the win.”
“The Ilonggo” is not the only member of the Catalan clan to have a spot on the ONE: Masters of Fate card. His older brother Rene will face Joshua Pacio for the ONE Strawweight World Title in the event’s headline bout.
However, the spotlight will shine on the younger sibling first, and he is determined to give the Pinoy fans in attendance something to cheer about.
He hopes to win to put himself in a great position to move onward and upward in 2020.
“I have a lot of plans next year and I don’t want to end this year with a loss,” he said.
“I’m very excited and ready for this match. I’ll do everything to get that win in front of my compatriots.”
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