Catalan targets win over fan favorite Balart

Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan’s next bout could be a career changer, and not just because it will take place in front of his compatriots, but because it could lead to bigger things next year. Catalan faces Cuban wrestler Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart in a three-round strawweight affair at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila on 8 November.

The 29-year-old sees Balart as the toughest opponent he has ever faced, given the credentials “El Gladiador” brings to the Circle. 

Despite the odds, the Catalan Fighting System representative believes he can pull off the upset and get the biggest win of his career. “I’m really excited for this match. This is where I will prove that I have improved, especially on the ground. We all know about the quality of his wrestling, but I am confident in my skills,” Catalan said. 

Balart is a three-time Pan-American Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion, took three consecutive Gold medals at the Pan American Games, a silver medal at the World Cup, and even went to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

But he has yet to win since joining ONE Championship.

Nevertheless, Catalan knows if the match goes to the ground he will be in for a war. 

“His wrestling is really good, so I expect him to be really strong physically. I know he’s done a lot in his career and I’ll have my hands full,” Catalan said.

That does not mean the Filipino plans to make it an easy night for the Cuban. 

“I’ve been training hard on my wrestling defense while sharpening my striking. I know it will be a big factor in getting a win against Balart,” he said. 

“I’ll keep my distance. I will maximize all my advantage so I can get the win.”

With the year closing, Catalan knows the impact of a win for his career and anything less than that would be disappointing. 

“I have a lot of plans next year and I don’t want to end this year with a loss. I’m very excited and ready for this match. I’ll do everything to get that win in front of my compatriots.”

ONE Championship returns this Friday, 25 October for ONE: DAWN OF VALOR at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The main card airs live on ABS-CBN S+A at 9:30pm. 

The Home Of Martial Arts then returns to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on 8 November.

Get your tickets at and use the code ‘onewarrior’ for a 20% discount. 

Topics: Robin Catalan , ONE Championship , ONE: DAWN OF VALOR , Gustavo Balart
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