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Rothana return cancelled, Meul in

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
After an extended absence, Chan Rothana had been set to return against Indonesia’s Abro Fernandes. Courtesy ONE Championship

Fans of Chan Rothana, Cambodia’s standout mixed martial artist (MMA), will be disappointed to learn the Selapak fighter will not be making an appearance in the cage at ONE Championship’s Heart of the Lion showpiece on November 9.

After an extended absence from the ONE cage, Rothana had been set to return to action at the Singapore Indoor Stadium against Indonesia’s Abro Fernandes, a ONE Championship newcomer making his promotional debut. However, ONE revealed that an injury to Fernandes meant the bout would not happen.

“I was not happy when I was told that my fight was cancelled,” said Rothana. “But a silver lining is that I will have more time to train for the next fight.”

Rothana, 32, clarified that ONE Championship was yet to confirm his next fight but he was hoping to feature at ONE: Destiny of Champions in Kuala Lumpur on December 7th.

Rothana, a Khun Khmer practitioner who transitioned to MMA in 2014, sports a 4-3 professional MMA record which includes one submission victory and three wins by knockout. A former ONE Cambodia Featherweight GP finalist, he is known as a devastating and relentless striker and a fan favourite.

His last outing on a ONE card was in April 2017 in which he suffered a disappointing loss to China’s Xie Bin in a three-round bantamweight contest at ONE: Kings of Destiny in the Philippines.

Rothana’s last victory in the MMA cage came at ONE: Kingdom of Khmer in December2015, where he exacted his revenge on rival Sam Ang Dung in a first round knockout that drove the crowd at wild Koh Pich Theatre in Phnom Penh.

Despite the disappointment of Rothana’s absence, fans can look forward to seeing Cambodian Top Team talent Meas Meul, 27, who has been added to the Singapore fightcard.

Meul will be up against 33-year old Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen. Engelen, half-Dutch, half-Indonesian, trains out of Tatsujin Dojo in Deventer, Netherlands and Alliance Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a former Indonesian Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion. He won three of his five previous ONE bouts.

Meul’s last ONE appearance in May resulted in defeat to Xie Chao of China by technical knockout in the third round of their ONE Championship: Unstoppable Dreams contest in Singapore’s Indoor Stadium.

Meul stormed out of the gates, immediately scoring a takedown and then positioning himself on top to pummel Xie with ground strikes. However, the complexion of the three-round featherweight clash started to change towards the end of the first round.

Xie capitalised on an exhausted Meul and nearly ended matters on the ground with a deep rear-naked choke. In the succeeding rounds of the contest, Xie manoeuvred his foe on the mat effortlessly and drilled Meul with punishing ground-and-pound to claim the stoppage and the victory.

Singapore-based ONE recently announced it had signed former UFC Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson – one of the most dominant world champions in MMA history with a professional record of 27-3-1.

“First of all, I am glad to be a part of ONE Championship. I am very honoured and grateful to be a ONE athlete. It’s a huge move on my part, for my career, said Johnson, who has dominated his division for the past six years. “I’m looking to come over to Asia and test my skills against the best in the flyweight division. I know those guys are animals. I know Geje [Eustaquio] and [Adriano] Moraes are beasts, and I’m looking forward to getting into the cage with them. At the end of the day, I feel that I am very young in my career and I wanted to try something different. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and compete. I think ONE is a fantastic organisation that represents incredible values – things that I also love to represent about this sport.”

The news of the signing comes on the heels of former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez who was signed in mid-October.

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