Dutch-Indonesian fighter Vincent Latoel is in the fight for his career.
His three-round lightweight encounter against Filipino journeyman Vaughn Donayre this weekend will be the toughest in his 15-year professional mixed martial arts career.
Holding an experienced MMA record of 16-18-2, Latoel is coming off two-straight setbacks in 2016, bowing down to former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu Boku in February before yielding to Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly in August.
According to Latoel, his bout against Donayre at ONE: Quest for Power will serve as a standard of measure to determine if he is still within the top-caliber rank in the sport.
“Competing is my drive. I love every bit of it, especially the rush that I get each time I step inside the cage. As much as I would like to continue, I have to assess myself. Yes, I am still hungry. I still have the heart to compete. But of course, I have to see first if I can compete at a high level,” he said.
Latoel, who may have trained for MMA competition much longer than anybody on the ONE Championship roster, believes that his experience will play a pivotal factor in trumping Donayre.
The 37-year-old Dutch-Indonesian kickboxer is a seasoned fighter with over 30 professional bouts under his belt and has faced the best combatants in the Asian MMA circuit like Eduard Folayang, Eddie Ng and Adrian Pang.
I HAVE LEARNED FROM MY 2016 FIGHTS. I AM BACK, MORE FOCUSED AND MUCH STRONGER.
“My experience will truly be my advantage. I have been competing for a very long time. I experienced ups and downs in my career. When I am down on the ground, it makes me so eager to get back up,” Latoel stated.
“Winning and losing are part of the sport. A true winner is someone who doesn’t give up and learns from his losses. I have learned from my 2016 fights. I am back, more focused and much stronger,” he added.
Donayre, who hails from the beautiful province of Cebu in the Philippines, owns a win-loss slate of 8-6 and had a stellar run in the local MMA ranks before directing his career path to ONE Championship in 2014.
Despite the disparity in the wealth of fight experience, Latoel stressed that he is not giving himself any room for complacency.
Under the tutelage of head trainer Martijn de Jong, Latoel revealed that he pushed himself to the limit in training camp, working with Tatsujin Dojo teammates and fellow ONE Championship athletes Anthony Engelen and Marcin Prachnio.
“My preparation for this upcoming fight is good. I do a lot of strength and conditioning training as well as MMA drills. I can fight at a high pace for this bout,” he says.
“We have formulated a good game plan. If we have a good strategy on fight night, we will leave the cage with a victory over Donayre.”
“I am a fighter who wants to create fireworks inside the cage. Fans can expect that the fight will be energetic. It will have a lot of action, and I promise everyone that you will see a different Vincent Latoel,” he said.