Veteran Rene Catalan eyes strong URCC debut vs rising star

Rene Catalan URCC

Rene Catalan (right) faces two-time jiujitsu world champion Eros Baluyot. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

In the twilight of his career, age hasn’t bothered three-time wushu world champion Rene Catalan one bit.

The seasoned 44-year-old fighter believes he still has what it takes to rule in the MMA cage when the former Asian Games gold medalist faces rising star Eros Baluyot in the main event of the URCC 87: Heroes on Tuesday night.

“I haven’t fought in the URCC. This is one arena that I really want to test my skills as a fighter,’’ said Catalan, a consistent MMA world title contender in various promotions in a career spanning over two decades.

He last competed in ONE Championship, losing to former champion Alex Silva in November 2021.

It will be a thrilling striker-opposite-grappler combat in the flyweight division with Baluyot, a two-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation world champion, expected to bring the power-punching Catalan to his realm on the ground.

“There’s a lot of fight left in me and to be honest, I still feel the hunger (in winning a title),’’ said Catalan, who owns an MMA win-loss record of 6-5.

Marking his return to the MMA cage, Catalan’s URCC debut could be his redeeming platform after dropping his last three fights.

But first, Catalan has to topple the 30-year-old Baluyot, who is visibly in his prime after easily taking down his first two opponents in the cage.

“Rene Catalan is a legend in Philippine MMA. He already built that legacy, that’s why this fight won’t lack the excitement,’’ said Baluyot. “I’ll make sure to come in well-prepared.’’

The slam-bang affair will happen at the Xylo at the Palace in BGC, Taguig City, according to URCC president Alvin Aguilar.

“We have two world champions going up against each other in our main event. It’s an awesome card that we’re going to have,’’ said Aguilar, president of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines.


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