Cambodia’s mixed martial arts star Chan Rothana will be back in the cage at next month’s ONE Championship: Dreams of Gold showpiece at Bangkok’s Impact Arena where he will be up against Pan-American Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart of Cuba.
In his last bout in May, the Kun Khmer hero delivered another powerful display of striking to defeat Rudy “The Golden Boy” Agustian at ONE: For Honor.
Rothana was under pressure in his opponent’s hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia, and then had to overcome some adversity as he was taken down, but he roared back into the contest to dominate in the second round and earn the win via TKO.
It was clear that Agustian wanted no part of his rival’s Kun Khmer striking as soon as he laid a glove on him, and quickly scored with a takedown.
Though he was able to get back to his feet, he “The Golden Boy” was relentless with his wrestling, and continued to put his rival on the canvas.
However, Rothana’s ground game has evolved since he first entered the cage, and though he was put in some dangerous positions, he had little trouble surviving.
“I tried to get out from Rudy Agustian’s takedown at least three times and turn to kickboxing,” he says.
“Rudy is good in all areas of mixed martial arts and has good control when he is on top.
“Though I was on the bottom, I knew how to control myself and his strength. I had techniques and tricks to restrain him. He could not cause me any danger – I dealt with it.”
The 33-year-old from Phnom Penh started to sprawl well toward the end of the first frame, which set him up for a more comfortable second round.
He listened well to the advice from his corner, which had noticed Agustian start to get tired, and he dominated from there.
Rothana was still fresh, and he dominated by picking his strikes more carefully, and then pounced when the Indonesian dropped to the mat to finish with ground and pound.
Now he has put away his last two opponents and increased his tally of wins in ONE to five, the Selapak representative hopes he can appeal to the ONE competition team to give him the chance to redeem an August 2016 defeat in Macau.
Rothana was on the wrong end of a decision in his Mixed Martial Arts clash against Chinese bantamweight Ma Hao Bin at ONE: Heroes of the World.
Haobin, 22 years old and still undefeated in three fights, overcame Rothana despite being the more conservative of the pair and was awarded a three-round unanimous decision that was widely applauded by the home fans in attendance at The Venetian Theatre in Macau.
Rothana, fighting out of Selapak Gym in the Cambodian capital, was the clear aggressor and owned the striking edge throughout the contest.
But it seems Haobin’s superior wrestling skills proved enough. All three judges saw the bout in favour of Ma Haobin as Rothana went down to just his second MMA loss
“I see Ma Haobin as a step up, but I want revenge after I lost on points in 2016,” he explains.
“I hope my two consecutive wins will be enough to get a rematch with him. It would be great if ONE organises a bout with him.”
But before Haobin, Rothana must first navigate “El Gladiador” Balart on August 16.