Rene Catalan pulls shocker, KO's Naito

Rene Catalan continues on pouncing Yoshitaka Naito. One Championship

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Rene Catalan pulled a major shocker on Friday night by defeating former One strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito at One: Reign of Valor at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon.

Catalan, despite having to play Naito's ground game, relied on the ground-and-pound en route to the technical knockout.

Naito wasted no time and quickly attempted to take down Catalan right at the get-go.

However, Catalan stopped Naito from completing the takedown, although the latter kept the match to the canvass.

The breakthrough came with two minutes left in Round 1 when Catalan connected on right-hand strikes that opened a huge cut above Naito's right cheek.

As blood continued to flow from Naito's wound, Catalan continued on punching him, forcing the referee to stop the contest with only 28 seconds left in the round.

Catalan has now won his last six fights and could be in line to challenge for the strawweight title currently held by another Japanese fighter in Yosuke Saruta.

On the other hand, Jomary Torres was at the wrong end of an upset as Lin Heqin prevailed in her One Championship debut.

Heqin turned things around right after Torres took her down and performed a deep triangle choke that forced the latter to concede at the 4:12 mark of the very first round.

In the main event that spilled to early Saturday, former Boracay-based Swedish fighter Zebaztian Kadestam remained as the One welterweight champion by edging Georgiy Kichigin.

Kadestam changed the complexion of the bout in the dying moments of the second round when he landed huge elbow strikes that rocked his opponent.

Still feeling the impact of the elbows, Kichigin's camp decided to throw in the towel during the break, giving Kadestam the technical knockout win.

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