Cambodia’s mixed martial arts flyweight “Black Dragon” Khim Dima will breathe fire in the ONE FC cage once again when he takes on Ruel Catalan of the Philippines at the Moment of Truth event in Manila on December 6.
Twenty-five-year-old Ruel is the younger brother of Rene Catalan, who had to be carried out of the cage on a stretcher after the end of his bout with Khim Dima in Singapore on October 18. The win had initially been given to the 22-year-old Cambodian but was later ruled a no contest due to numerous illegal strikes to the back of Rene’s head. Referee Kenichi Serizawa was given a suspension by ONE FC for his part in the fight.
Khim Dima’s trainer at A Fighter MMA Club, Im Ouk, still maintained it was the wrong result and also dismissed the outcome of his other student Tok Sophon’s ONE FC debut, a loss to Malaysia’s Saiful Merican by unanimous decision in Kuala Lumpur on November 15. A Fighter’s Long Sophy was also defeated in the Kingdom’s first appearance at ONE FC in September.
“We are not chasing that elusive win, because we know we should have already won twice already,” Im Ouk told the Post yesterday. “Dima should have never been robbed, and Sophon beat Merican also.”
Like his famous older sibling, Ruel is also a wushu world champion, but has found the transition to MMA difficult with a professional record of one win and four losses, none of which have been at ONE FC. His only success came against compatriot Jay-R Bermoy in an IAGMA-HAVOC bout two years ago.
Ruel’s nickname “the Avenger” seems remarkably apt this time as he seeks payback for his brother’s treatment at the fists of the Black Dragon. Such was the extent of Rene’s head injuries that he was ruled out of competing for two months and forced to miss the rematch with Dima.
Im Ouk, however, appeared confident that his fighter would claim victory in front a 20,000-strong home crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
“We know Ruel is nothing special, so there is no great concern. Dima will destroy him and tear him apart. I believe Dima will destroy Ruel – he’s nothing close to our champion Khim Dima,” the trainer said.
“We will take the fight to the ground and show them that Dima knows the rules inside out. They are making out that we don’t know the rules and we shouldn’t be fighting MMA. We will destroy him in his hometown.”
ONE FC: Moment of Truth is headlined by the featherweight world champion bout between belt holder Koji Oishi of Japan and Honorio Banario of the Philippines.
Filipino vengeance is again on the agenda, as Oishi had grabbed the belt off Banario at the same venue on May 31 when he scored a knockout with punches in the second round.
Other matches on the card include Spanish bantamweight David Aranda taking on Filipino Kevin Belingon, Indonesia’s Vincent Latoel against fellow lightweight Eduard Folayang of the Philippines, Japanese bantamweight Koetsu Okazaki facing off with Leandro Issa of Brazil, lightweight Caros Fodor of the US versus South Africa’s Vuyisile Colossa, South Korean bantamweight Dae Hwan Kim against Australia’s Thanh Vu, an all-Filipino flyweight contest between Eugene Toquero and Geje Eustaquio, Filipino featherweight Edward Kelly meeting Major Overall of the US and heavyweight Paul Cheng of Canada going toe-to-toe with Hong Kong striker Alain Ngalani.
Local channel MyTV will offer coverage of the action from Manila, while regional broadcaster Star Sports will also be screening fights live.