The Russian star is De Ridder’s most well-rounded challenger yet, and he’ll need all of those tools to claim the ONE Middleweight World Title in the main event of ONE 159 next Friday, July 22.
Here are three key weapons that Bigdash can use as he aims to dethrone “The Dutch Knight” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and reclaim the middleweight gold he once owned.
#1 Solid Striking
Bigdash started his martial arts journey with karate, and he’s since trained extensively in boxing and Muay Thai. This means he owns a well-stocked striking arsenal – the area where he sees De Ridder’s biggest flaw.
The Akhmat Fight Team and Tiger Muay Thai representative doesn’t do anything flashy with his hands, but he throws strong punches that are capable of racking up lots of damage.
He often works well from the outside and delivers tight combinations. With his renowned chin and durability, Bigdash will feel comfortable unleashing them against De Ridder, describing his foe’s strikes as “very weak.”
The 37-year-old might not utilize too many kicks in order to avoid “The Dutch Knight’s” elite takedowns, but he can intersperse his rapid high kicks sparingly to keep his attacks varied and create different openings.
#2 Strong Offensive Clinch
Although De Ridder is a judo black belt who owns a strong clinch game, Bigdash is one of the best wrestlers the Dutchman has ever faced and will be happy to enter close quarters.
The Russian operates well when he can stuff his opponent against the fence and make use of scything elbows and punishing knees.
He also believes he is physically stronger than De Ridder. A good litmus test for this will be whether the former middleweight king can control his man and muscle his way into close-range striking positions.
If Bigdash can make De Ridder wary of his shots, it will open up chances to utilize his trip takedowns – his most high-percentage option of getting a fight to the canvas.
#3 Heavy Top Game
Bigdash knows De Ridder is dangerous from top position, but he also believes the defending king has never proven he can fight from his own back.
Meanwhile, the Russian is a menace when he gets on top, and he’ll try to test “The Dutch Knight’s” bottom game by putting him in unfamiliar territory.
With a strong base and heavy ground-and-pound, the challenger can avoid getting swept while he looks to score damage with punches and elbows from inside the guard.
And where most opponents have been overwhelmed by De Ridder’s black belt BJJ skills, Bigdash is also well-versed in the submission game.
This will help him avoid the titleholder’s attacks, and also offer up offensive opportunities if he can get “The Dutch Knight” reeling from ground strikes.
Bigdash’s Plan A is unlikely to be a submission finish, but he does have a wide array of submissions in his arsenal that he can latch onto when his opponent tries to squirm away from damaging ground-and-pound.