Rene “The Challenger” Catalan has made it three in a row now.
On Friday, 18 August, at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the former Wushu world champion kicked off ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in exciting fashion. The Filipino out-pointed Chinese Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion Bu Huo You Ga en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The bout was a wild back-and-forth affair, that started with the taller Bu Huo You Ga crouching low and scuttling toward the center of the cage. But when he popped up, Catalan — a proud Filipino from Manila — immediately knocked him down with a left hand.
Catalan attempted to overwhelm his Chinese counterpart with ground and pound early, but Bu Huo You Ga swept on top before the first minute elapsed, forcing his Filipino rival to throw elbows off his back. The 24-year-old grappler from China went for a north-south choke, but Catalan swept back on top with two minutes to spare. He looked to take side control, but his opponent used knees to push him back to guard, blocking a late attempt to take full mount.
In the second round, Bu Huo You Ga found initial success with a double leg takedown. But like in the previous stanza, Catalan stayed active off his back and looked for his chance to reverse, leading to a wild series of switches with both athletes taking turns sweeping to the top.
Referee Olivier Coste wanted to see more work from both men, but they were countering each other so effectively that the most dominant moment was a late armbar attempt by Catalan.
Takedown defense made all the difference for Catalan in the third and final round, as he saw the double leg coming and blocked it before his rival could connect. Bu Huo You Ga went for a leg trip, but the Filipino showed excellent balance and hip movement, landing on top and getting full mount nearly two minutes into the match.
Yet again, Bu Huo You Ga swept to the top. Catalan kicked him away, however, forcing his nemesis to back up and try to jump over the top in the late seconds of the contest. Finally, the Chinese grappler transitioned from a mount to the back, but it was too late.
All three judges scored a unanimous decision in Catalan’s favor. With the win, Catalan advances his professional record to 3-2 (1 NC) and has proven to be a force in the promotion’s strawweight division. The loss drops Bu Huo You Ga to 4-3.