He’s met Bigdash inside the Circle three times for a combined 13 rounds and De Ridder twice over the course of six rounds, which gives this matchup at the Singapore Indoor Stadium a very personal feel.
Aung La N Sang told ONE Championship:
“It’s going to be a good fight. They’re both very good competitors. I’m excited for it, and I’m very familiar with both of them. I’ve spent, what, one to two hours [competing] with them? It’s an exciting matchup for me, and I’m really looking forward to who’s going to win that one.”
A former two-division king himself, Aung La N Sang dropped his ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Titles to De Ridder in consecutive contests. In both battles, “The Dutch Knight’s” ground game allowed him to dominate the action.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar icon had mixed results against Bidgash. They split a pair of ONE Middleweight World Title fights, but the Russian won their trilogy showdown earlier this year to earn this shot at De Ridder.
With those experiences in mind, Aung La N Sang broke down the strengths of each athlete in the ONE 159 main event.
He told ONE Championship:
“[De Ridder’s best qualities are] his range, how long he is and his grappling. 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, so it’s interesting. He has interesting attributes. His grappling is very good. His wrestling is okay but his jiu-jitsu is very good.
“Physically, [Bigdash] is very strong. Skill set-wise, he has good striking, but he has great wrestling and submissions as well. 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, and he’s always in tremendous shape.”
Aung La N Sang Can’t Pick A Winner Between De Ridder, Bigdash
Reinier de Ridder looked better than ever when he dominated ONE Welterweight World Champion Kiamrian Abbasov to retain his middleweight gold last time out, but Aung La N Sang thinks Vitaly Bigdash is a bigger threat.
In fact, the Myanmar star believes that Bigdash’s well-rounded game will make him a tough opponent for the reigning king, although he won’t doubt “The Dutch Knight,” either.
Aung La N Sang said:
“If you look at both of their attributes, if you look at both of their skill sets, this is a dangerous fight for RDR, for sure. But RDR will surprise you.”
With all that said, Aung La N Sang is reluctant to make a prediction for the ONE 159 main event.
He thinks the World Title contest could go either way – and that it will come down to who turns up at full force and implements their game plan inside the Circle.
“The Burmese Python” added:
“This is a very, very close fight. I can’t really [give a prediction]. It’s a coin toss because if RDR is on point, and if he’s able to close the distance real quick and get 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.”