Not even a quick knockout defeat can stop Filipino fighter Rene Catalan from wanting another clash in the Circle as soon as possible.
The Filipino strawweight contender suffered a knockout loss against undefeated South African wrestler Bokang Masunyane in ONE: Big Bang at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
Masunyane showed a different side of him and landed a lethal left high kick on Catalan, sending the Filipino fighter down the canvas.
After more than a year of preparation, Catalan’s chance turned to dust in just 37 seconds. But that won’t stop the 41-year-old wushu champion to continue his hunt for the title shot.
In fact, Catalan messaged ONE Championship executives, including CEO and founder Chatri Sityodtong, to give his thanks and asked for another opportunity right after the Singapore event.
“Sabi ko, ready ako even next week kung may backout man ready ako na mag-replace,” Catalan told Manila Bulletin in a video call Saturday.
“Even next month. Ako gusto kong mag-bounce back agad habang mainit pa from training.”
ONE Championship has prepared four events in December, including the first installment of Big Bang, Big Bang II on Dec. 11, Collision Course on Dec. 18, and Collision Course II on Christmas day.
Despite undergoing the longest preparation so far amid the coronavirus pandemic, Catalan admitted being caught off guard by Masunyane’s finisher and left him in awe overnight.
Catalan bared the initial gameplan he had prepared for Masunyane: finding the pace and landing clear shots in the opening round, switch to ground game in the second, and a combination of both in the last frame.
But none of it was executed as Catalan didn’t expect the high kick from Masunyane off a body scramble.
“Hindi ako nakatulog kagabi. Parang ibon na lumipad lang after that [long] preparation ‘yung nangyari,” said the founder of Makati-based mixed martial arts stable Catalan Fighting System. “[But] it’s a good experience sa akin. Kung baga, pagkauwi ng Pilipinas, para mapaigi sa sistema [at] makapagpapalakas kami.”
Catalan, holding a 6-4 record, suffered back-to-back losses since tapping out of reigning strawweight king Joshua Pacio’s arm-triangle choke last November 2019.