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Mixed Martial Arts

Aung La N Sang on De Ridder–Bigdash: ‘It’s a toss-up’


If there’s one guy who knows all about the main protagonists of ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash, it’s former two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang.

That’s why he’s excited to see reigning two-division ONE World Champion Reiner “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder defend his middleweight strap against Vitaly Bigdash in ONE Championship’s next event on 22 July at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“The Burmese Python” lost both the ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Titles to De Ridder and shared the Circle with Bigdash thrice, making him the perfect guy to break this match down.

Asked about why he struggled against the Dutchman, the Sanford MMA star pointed out De Ridder’s insane grappling.

“[What makes him challenging is] his range, how long he is, and his grappling,” Aung La N Sang said.

“When you fight taller opponents, you have to close the distance, but he wants to close the distance as well because he’s a better grappler than he is a striker. And so it’s interesting, he has interesting attributes.”

Bigdash, on the other hand, is one of the most skilled fighters in the division. The 37-year-old mentioned adaptability as one of Bigdash’s main strengths, noting that the Russian can take advantage of every mistake his opponents make in the Circle.

“Physically, he’s very strong. Skill set-wise he has good striking, but he has great wrestling and submissions as well. If you’re off a little bit, he will take advantage of you,” he said.

“You know, if you’re not on point, if your defense is not on point, or something’s not on point, he will take advantage of that. He’s very sharp in terms of MMA fight IQ. He has a very high fight IQ, and he’s always in tremendous shape.”

But even after five fights with these two men, Aung La N Sang still can’t predict who he thinks the winner of this match will be.

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That just goes to show how skilled these two fighters are and how competitive this match is going to be.

“It’s hard, man. This is a very, very close toss-up fight. To me, this is a coin toss. It’s a coin toss because if RDR is on point, and if he’s able to close the distance real quick, then I don’t think Bigdash will give him [an advantage],” he said. “If he’s on top, I don’t think Bigdash would be able to fight him off, because he will stick to [him] like glue, and vice-versa. If Bigdash is on top, I don’t see RDR sweeping him or submitting him from the bottom.

“It really depends on who’s able to impose their game plan. But I give a striking edge to Bigdash, for sure, and the grappling edge to Reinier. So, it really depends on who’s able to better use the takedowns.”

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