Filipino martial arts veteran Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan is scheduled to face off against Cuban warrior Gustavo Balart on supporting card of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on Friday, 8 November at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Balart is known for his world-class wrestling skills, but perhaps better known for his unique size. Standing at just 4-feet-11-inches tall, Balart is a small flyweight with a big heart. He’s put together two outstanding performances against tough opponents in his ONE stint so far, despite being on the losing end of both bouts.
Catalan, who stands just a little over five feet tall, believes the size difference will have very little effect on the outcome of this matchup.
“I don’t think the difference in our height will be an advantage to me,” Catalan said.
“Yes, my reach will be longer, but there will be some difficulties in landing combinations. I could not also be reckless in charging in because Balart can counter my attacks and take me down. That is why my team is helping me with my preparations to make sure that I will be able to take full advantage of the holes in Gustavo’s game.”
Catalan has been working very hard in training, and the 29-year-old Filipino wants to leave nothing to chance when he meets with the Three-time Pan-American Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion.
“The Ilonggo” believes it’s the disparity in skill, and not in stature, that will make all the difference.
“I have been working hard to be a well-rounded athlete,” Catalan said.
“For this match, I am ready for anything that Gustavo will throw at me. I can dominate the standup, but if he brings the action to the ground, then I will finish him off with a ground and pound. I only have one goal, and that is to win.”
Catalan himself, however, has not had an easy go in his ONE Championship run as of late. He’s lost two of his last three bouts, including his most recent setback, a knockout loss to Thailand’s Pongsiri Mitsatit.
But like a true martial artist, Catalan says he’s learned from his mistakes and has worked hard to fill the gaps in his game.
“I am hungry to win this match,” Catalan concluded.
“I know where I went wrong (in my last match) and had been fixing it since then. This time, I will make sure that I will win.”