Aung La N Sang Blown Away By ‘Savage’ Anatoly Malykhin And ‘Superstar’ Fabricio Andrade In 2022
Aung La N Sang is not afraid to give credit when he sees excellence inside the ONE Championship Circle – and two rising superstars blew him away this year.
The former ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion watched as Anatoly Malykhin knocked out Reinier de Ridder in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 5 earlier this month, and he was very impressed.
After losing both of his belts to De Ridder, “The Burmese Python” knows his past rival is plenty skilled.
So, when ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Malykhin finished the previously unbeaten Dutchman to take the gold in a second division, Aung La N Sang knew he had witnessed a special performance.
He said of the 34-year-old’s win:
“I expected it. I saw it going two ways. Either Anatoly knocks him out or Reinier tires him out. Anatoly has big power, and he was coming down from heavyweight, so he still had that heavyweight power.
“It really depended on whether Reinier was going to be able take him down and tire him out with his grappling. But they never got to the ground because of how well Anatoly kept his positioning. He put on a perfect performance.
“It was a great fight, something that the fans were entertained by, and something that I can learn from as well.”
That demolition of De Ridder solidified Aung La N Sang’s membership in the Malykhin fan club.
The Myanmar icon has seen “Sladkiy” go from strength to strength en route to becoming a two-division titleholder, all the while remaining a likable and dedicated father and husband.
However, he doesn’t know whether the Russian will end up in his own crosshairs. Malykhin has teased plans to go for a World Title in another division, and “The Burmese Python” can only envision a matchup in his current weight class.
Aung La N Sang said:
“I think I would only fight Malykhin on a basis that he comes down to middleweight. There’s no way I’m going to fight at light heavyweight anymore.
“He is very impressive. When he started off, we thought he was just a wrestler with good boxing. But now we can see he’s well-rounded. He’s a great mixed martial artist and a World Champion in two divisions. He’s going to do big things.
“He’s also a humble family man. A great guy. I’ve met him many times. I’m very happy for him. He deserves everything he worked for. How can you not like him? When you meet him outside, he’s the sweetest guy. Then he’s a savage in the ONE Circle.”
Aung La N Sang: Fabricio Andrade Will Be A ‘Superstar’
Anatoly Malykhin’s Tiger Muay Thai teammate Fabricio Andrade is the other fighter who stood out for Aung La N Sang in 2022.
The 25-year-old Brazilian scored two first-round knockouts to earn himself a ONE Bantamweight World Title shot, and he appeared close to claiming the belt against John Lineker until an errant low blow resulted in a no-contest ruling at ONE on Prime Video 3 in October.
Despite the anticlimactic ending to that World Title bout, Aung La N Sang thinks “Wonder Boy” cemented himself as a force this past year.
“I would say Fabricio Andrade [has impressed me the most this year]. Even though he didn’t win the belt, he pretty much should have won the belt. He came out of nowhere.
“I was in the same locker room as him, and I was like, ‘That guy was fast!’ He’s a very good striker and he’s young too.”
With World Champions like Malykhin and potential future kings like Andrade leading the way, Aung La N Sang is excited to see ONE continue its global expansion in 2023 – with a U.S. debut booked for ONE on Prime Video 10 on May 5.
Exciting stars delivering stunning finishes will certainly play a big part in the promotion’s growth, and “The Burmese Python” thinks the Tiger Muay Thai duo will be drawing in fans for years to come.
“This year was the year for [Malykhin] and Fabricio Andrade, for sure. The next couple of years, they’re going to keep doing their thing. Both of them are fairly young.
“I think [Andrade] is one of those guys that you should look at long-term. He could probably fight for the next 10 years. He’s going to be a superstar
“For a heavyweight, Anatoly is super young. He could fight for the next 10 years too. I’m excited for them.”