Former two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang is predicting a close battle when reigning ONE Middleweight World Champion Reiner “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder defends his strap against Vitaly Bigdash.
The two top-notch grapplers will duke it out in the main event of ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash on 22 July at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Aung La N Sang knows these guys all too well, having shared the Circle with De Ridder twice and Bigdash three times.
For “The Burmese Python,” what makes the current two-division ONE World Champion in De Ridder dangerous is his ability to close the distance and utilize his jiu-jitsu.
“[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.”
The 37-year-old also had great things to say about Bigdash, noting the Russian’s striking and fight IQ, which gives him the impeccable ability to take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes.
“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.”
Asked to give his take on who he thinks will win, the Sanford MMA star couldn’t make up his mind, saying that it depends on whose game plan will be more effective.
Looking at the styles of both fighters and their respective abilities, it’s hard to disagree with Aung La N Sang.
“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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