Rene Catalan is Proving All the Doubters Wrong at 40

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Rene Catalan records sixth straight win in ONE Championship over former champ Yoshitaka Naito

Editor’s Note: I wanted to do justice in covering this milestone for Rene Catalan, so I asked Catalan Fighting System long-time student and fellow MMA writer Dreau Lanot to share Catalan’s journey from his perspective.

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By the age of 40, most combat sport athletes have already slid past their prime and are considered done. In MMA, where the demands to the body and psyche are far more steep, the peak performance window of a fighter often closes earlier. However, for Rene Catalan, he has fought against and triumphed over too many odds to simply yield to Father Time.

Catalan was already 34 and has been a few years removed from his last combat exposure when he signed with ONE in 2013. His MMA career started in the shadows: a submission loss on his debut, followed by a no-contest from absorbing illegal blows, and then a knockout.

It took over three years and a couple of camp relocations before he could find his winning formula; the Filipino Wushu-Sanda record holder only earned his first MMA win in September 2016 against Chinese opponent Zhang You Liang.
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BRAVE 22 is Stephen Loman’s Homecoming

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Here’s what you need to know ahead of Stephen Loman’s fight against Elias Boudegzdame at Brave 22

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At the close of 2018, Team Lakay had five world champions. But unlike Folayang, Belingon, Eustaquio, and Pacio, BRAVE bantamweight champion Mark Stephen Loman has never had the bright lights of the SM Mall of Asia Arena shine on him in his two championship fights.

Loman wrested the BRAVE bantamweight title from Frans Mlambo on June 9, 2018 in hostile Belfast, Northern Ireland. He defended his belt against Brazilian Felipe Efrain on November 16, 2018 in Bahrain. It was after his successful defense that BRAVE’s top brass promised Loman the opportunity to showcase his skill set on Philippine soil. And on March 15, they’re making good on their promise.

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We’ve seen Loman fight before under the PXC banner. His most impressive victory under the Guam-based promotion was against KO machine Mark Abelardo. He was scheduled to challenge PXC bantamweight champ Trevin Jones; the fight never materialized following weight cut complications on the American’s end.

Loman’s potential next challenger Jose “Shorty” Torres describes the Lakay as someone who “always comes back from adversity.” “He’s a slow starter and almost always loses the first round,” observes the former UFC fighter. “Even in his last fight, we thought Felipe Efrain would put him away, but then he came back stronger each round and was able to stay the champion.”

Five of Loman’s last six victories have gone the distance. His last loss (personally the first time I saw Loman fight live) was care of a flash KO by Rex de Lara.  Not one to have a granite chin, Loman’s measured pace could very well be his way to make sure that he doesn’t get caught twice. “In the first round, I’m feeling out the power of my opponents, always [finding] my range to land clean shots,” Loman defended against Torres’ critique. “There were times I was hit hard, but I managed to come back and make adjustments in the fight.”
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Standout Performances: Tiger BRAWL Bacolod

Excellent matchups, no circus of any form, just fights — the return of Tiger BRAWL Bacolod is in the books. Seriously, the only real intermission that night was when the crowd sang “Happy birthday” to Rio Saoy. On a night filled with thrilling performances, here are a few that stand out:

50469995_2551042798245290_1222337388815056896_nMark “The Shark” Nimanand (6100 Martial Arts and Fitness) vs. Rio “Pitbull” Saoy (Mactan Combat Sports)

A well-conditioned Saoy absorbed the best of Nimanand’s punches, and even took him down in the heat of battle. But Nimanand had takedowns of his own, and finished strong on all three rounds to take the unanimous decision.

>> Huge props to the young Nimanand for forcing a former Muay Thai national team member to take the fight to the ground on several occasions. With the backing of a solid team, this young prospect may find his place in the industry if he gives the sport enough focus.

50422506_2551040694912167_8184587548677373952_nJoemar “The Island Fighter” Bayang (Legacy Gym Boracay) vs. Pablo “The Boomer” Meñosa (Pure Muscle Gym)

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