Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke doesn’t see Rene “The Challenger” Catalan coming up short this Friday.
Catalan returns to mixed martial arts action when he takes on the unbeaten Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane on December 4 at ONE: BIG BANG live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and Dejdamrong expects the best from his former opponent.
Dejdamrong and Catalan squared off in 2014, when the multi-time Lumpinee Stadium World Champion emerged victorious. Since that match, Catalan has turned the tide and Dejdamrong expects the Filipino to remain as a dominant force in the division.
"Rene improved a lot after he lost to me [in 2014]. He won six fights in a row after that, until he vied for Joshua Pacio’s World Title,” the Thai said.
“Even though he failed [to win the belt], I still can say that Rene is an elite fighter. His ground game is superb, and his striking skill keeps getting better. He is also in good shape and confident.”
Asked what the key factor was in beating Catalan, Dejdamrong said it was his Muay Thai.
"His weak point is he’s afraid of the knees. It would be difficult for him to get close for a takedown against an opponent who can defend with their knees like me,” Dejdamrong said.
“It seems to be the main problem for the Catalan family – Rene and his sibling, Robin, got beaten by Muay Thai fighters like me and Pongsiri (Mitsatit). We both ended the fights by knees.”
However, he doesn’t see Masunyane possessing the same tools to stop Catalan.
“I watched Bokang's debut with Ryuto [Sawada], and Bokang won by far. But after three rounds, I couldn’t see any of his dangerous weapons,” Dejdamrong continued.
With that said, when asked to give his two cents on the results of the upcoming match, he thinks Catalan will edge out the unbeaten South African.
“Even though Bokang has won seven times and has an undefeated record, I still give the edge to Rene. This will be a good fight, but I think Rene will slightly win by a point,” Dejdamrong said.
“Rene’s experience will be the advantage. I think the age difference won’t be too much of a problem. Look at me – I am 42 years old, and I still can fight in a good condition.”
Catch ONE: BIG BANG this Friday, December 4, live on the ONE Super App or One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT).
One Sports will air the event on a same-day delay at 9 p.m. while TV5 will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT on Saturday, December 5.
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