The success of Team Lakay and its impact on the sport of mixed martial arts in the Philippines is something that has been told, and will be re-told, for a long time.
After all, winning four World Titles in one year is a feat that would be hard to topple.
But not all Filipinos who emerge at ONE Championship comes from the fabled gym in Benguet. And this is where Rene “The Challenger” Catalan comes in.
“Team Lakay has been here for a long time. It’s only right to say that they are the top team from the Philippines,” said Catalan, who spearheads the emerging Catalan Fighting System from Makati City.
“I have nothing but respect for them.”
Like Team Lakay, the Catalans struggled to find their footing in The Home Of Martial Arts early on, but now they are making their mark in their respective divisions.
Take Rene for example. The former Asian Games Gold Medallist went winless in his first three outings with ONE before going on a tear, winning his last five contests and is now viewed as a legitimate threat to the ONE Strawweight World Title currently held by Yosuke Saruta.
Catalan, who’s scheduled to face Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: Reign of Valor this March, is now a stone’s throw away from getting his title shot – with a win over the former World Champion all but assuring him a match for the belt.
The 40-year-old slugger, which hails from Iloilo City, is using the rise of Team Lakay – particularly Eduard Folayang’s – as his main motivation to zoom to the top.
“The likes of Eduard Folayang had to go through many heartbreaks before reaching his current status. For our team, we also need more experience to reach that level someday,” Catalan explained.
“We just need time and determination to reach the level of Team Lakay.”
Now his entire focus is on Naito, knowing fully well that a win here would be the realization not only of his dream but his team’s goals as well.
“I see this fight ending by unanimous decision or by knockout,” Catalan quipped.
“I see him as someone blocking my goal of fighting for the world title and my goal is to remove him in my path.”
Food poisoning not a hindrance for Ginebra in facing NLEX
NBTC All-Star first pick, MVP Mark Nonoy proves Kai Sotto right
Kath Bell drops 30 on F2 Logistics, leads Petron to 11th straight win
Ginebra storms back from early deficit, overcomes NLEX to punch QF berth
Alleje twins look back on their first Battle of Katipunan — which came during their birthday
Gilas experience rude welcome in Astana
Gilas Pilipinas to face European powerhouses in FIBA World Cup
Air Padda out as Adamson Lady Falcons head coach
Mark Nonoy takes charge as Hustle tops Heart in NBTC All-Star Game
Jalen Green, David Carlos battle to epic stalemate in NBTC Slam Dunk Contest
Alfonso Montelibano strikes brace as La Salle ends three-year skid to Ateneo
Allen Lozano leads Adamson comeback in upset win against UP
- Basketball5 days ago
Germy Mahinay, UST Growling Tigers part ways
- ADMU3 days ago
Bea De Leon on encounter with referee: ‘Talagang all emotion’
- ADMU3 days ago
If blocking is what Ateneo needs, Maddie Madayag is always willing to provide
- ADMU4 days ago
Maddie Madayag’s record-setting block performance lifts Ateneo past UST