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Rothana to make cage return

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Chan Rothana is a Khun Khmer practitioner who transitioned to MMA in 2014. Courtesy ONE Championship

Cambodia’s finest mixed martial artist is set to return to the cage tonight as ONE Championship takes its MMA showpiece to Kuala Lumpur for ONE: Destiny of Champions.

Fans of Chan Rothana, the kingdom’s standout MMA star were disappointed to see the Selapak fighter miss out on a long-awaited return to the cage at ONE’s Heart of the Lion event on November 9. Rothana was set to return at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, however, an injury to opponent Abro Fernandes resulted in the cancellation of that bout.

After an extended absence from the ONE cage, Rothana, 32, is set to face Fernandes this evening.

Rothana has been training diligently at Selapak in Phnom Penh, eagerly waiting for the chance to once again represent Cambodia in the world’s largest martial arts organisation.

“I’ve prepared my mind ever since [the] news about the November bout. But for now, I’m just praying for the day that the event comes,” he said.

”I want to show something new to ONE Championship so that they can give me more attention.”

The Kun Khmer veteran has been training in both Cambodia and Myanmar with fellow ONE athlete Phoe Thaw and ONE Warrior Series (OWS) competitor Emmanuel Onyedikachi.

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.

His 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 that, Rothana eager to show the world his progress since his last outing nearly a year and a half ago, and he will enter the contest with the full support of his fellow countrymen and fans.

“They want me to win every fight. It makes me so happy and makes me struggle hard to win every competition,” the Cambodian said.

“The fight is not only for myself, but also for all my fans. I get happy when I see my fans happy.”

The kingdom will also be represented by Cambodian-American debutant Savannah Nahry Em of Long Beach, California, an up-and-coming professional fighter.

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