In a strawweight contest with potential title implications, two of the division’s hottest streaks were on the line at ONE REIGN OF KINGS, as local favourite Rene “The Challenger” Catalan took on unbeaten Indonesian, Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian.
Rahardian would not leave the cage with his unblemished résumé intact. Catalan out-struck his opponent en route to a unanimous decision victory at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, the Philippines on Friday, 27 July.
The first meaningful strike of the opening round set a precedent for the bout as a whole, as “The Challenger” stepped in with a thudding low kick that clearly made an impact on his opponent.
He stayed with this game plan throughout the first stanza, landing solid hooks to open up his attacks to the legs.
In the brief grappling exchanges, Catalan came close with a guillotine choke, reminding Rahardian not to dismiss his ground game, either.
The Filipino’s corner seemed to order more of the same for round two, as he swung his shins at “The Lion’s” thigh with impressive force.
A hard left hook caused Rahardian to stumble, but the Indonesian managed to secure a takedown and control the rest of the round from top position, and attempted to launch his offensive jiu-jitsu.
It seemed like the Bali MMA man had the most ground to make up in round three given Catalan’s success throughout the contest, but he could not gain enough ground on his opponent.
The pace had slowed, and Catalan remained diligent in his quest to land left hooks and low kicks, time after time.
As the final bell rang, a smiling Catalan had no doubt he had just picked up the biggest victory of his career, and extended his win streak to five straight.
That was no mean feat given his foe’s impressive 9-0 slate coming in, and now the Filipino has to be considered among the division’s top contenders.