Filipino martial arts veteran Robin Catalan is looking to break into the top five of the strawweight MMA rankings, and if he can defeat his next opponent, it would certainly push him in the right direction.
Catalan (9-7) is scheduled to face rising Indonesian star Elipitua "The Magician" Siregar (4-2) at "ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot," which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Friday.
The 31-year-old Filipino knows just how dangerous of an opponent Siregar is, particularly on the mat. But Catalan – an IFMA muay Thai champion – thinks he can compete with "The Magician" anywhere the fight goes, especially in the stand-up department.
"I believe his best strengths are his wrestling and his ground game," Catalan said. "I'm not too worried about his striking.
"Of course, if I find the opening to make him tap, we'll take it. I want to show that I have that in my game, as well.
Ever since making his MMA debut in ONE Championship back in 2018, Siregar has utilized his grappling to rattle off four victories. Moreover, he finished all four opponents – three via rear-naked choke and another one via TKO.
"We're not lacking in training," the Filipino said. "We're focused on improving our wrestling and even incorporated it into our gameplan. I'm looking to find my timing and see where I can get a knockout. I think I can handle his wrestling easily.
"I think he gasses out when he wrestles, so I will be looking for an opening and use his own strength against him."
Catalan eyes top-five spot, rematch with Gustavo Balart
A victory for Catalan over Siregar would be huge for the Filipino's stock, and it may be just enough to earn him a rematch with a man he has already beaten.
"The Ilonggo" is fixated on securing another fight with Mo. 4-ranked strawweight MMA contender Gustavo Balart.
Catalan knocked out the 4-foot-11 beast with a jaw-dropping head kick at "ONE: Masters of Fate" in November 2019.
Now, Catalan wants to take his spot.
"He's in the top five, and I want that. I'll let him get a rematch with me if he likes, so that I can prove that my win was no fluke," Catalan said.
"My plan is to make my way into the top five. I see these guys in the top five, and I want to prove that I belong in that group as well. I want to prove that I belong among the best. I need to focus on my gameplan and execute it perfectly so that I can have a shot at that."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.