ONE Championship has announced the first title defense for dual-weight champion Aung La N Sang.
At ONE: Spirit Of A Warrior, he will face the newly signed Ken Hasegawa.
Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship stated:
“Whenever Aung La N Sang steps foot on Myanmar soil, he is greeted by throngs of screaming fans. He truly is Myanmar’s biggest star, and is a great representative of the country’s strength and resolve. Our ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion is ready to face a tough new opponent in Japan’s Ken Hasegawa, and I am super excited for another action-packed evening in Yangon. ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR is shaping up to be one of the biggest nights in Myanmar’s martial arts history, and fans will not want to miss what goes down at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.”
33-year-old Aung La N Sang (22-10, 1NC) is, quite literally, the most successful and accomplished athlete in Myanmar history, and his stellar submission skills have given him the very suitable moniker of ‘The Burmese Python’.
After a solid enough career fighting in America to start his career, N Sang signed with ONE Championship in 2014. It was here where he finally began to get into his stride as a mixed martial artist.
As he racked up four-straight wins with three finishes, N Sang was given a title opportunity in January 2017. He had a very, very narrow decision loss to Vitaly Bigdash, but due to some controversy around the decision, he was given a rematch.
It was here where he captured the title. Afterward, he took a heavyweight super fight, yes, a heavyweight super fight, against muay thai super heavyweight Alain Ngalani. N Sang submitted him quick and was then given a shot at light heavyweight gold. Here, he knocked out Alexandre Machado in just 55-seconds to become the second dual-weight champion in ONE history. All of this was in the span of less than a year.
Aung La N Sang, ONE Middleweight, and Light Heavyweight World Champion stated:
“It is always a pleasure and a privilege to share my skills and talents to everyone back home. As champion, I am willing to take on all comers. It is an honor to represent the country of Myanmar on the biggest global stage of martial arts competition. This world championship means a lot to me, to those who have been behind my career from the very beginning, to my family, and to my friends. I will do everything in my power to defend this title against the hungry lion that is Ken Hasegawa.”
At just 31-years-old, Ken Hasegawa of Japan has become somewhat of a staple of the Japanese MMA scene.
Since a tough loss to Brennan Ward under the RIZIN banner after looking good early, Hasegawa has won four of his last five. He competed in a year-long DEEP welterweight tournament. Defeating Yoichiro Sato and Yoshiyuki Katahira before losing the finals against Ryuichiro Sumimura.
He rebounded in February 2018, returning to the middleweight division and stopping Genpei Hayashi at DEEP 82.
Hasegawa has been all over the place in terms of weight and divisions throughout his MMA career. He began his run with much more body fat than we see on him today, fighting as a heavyweight. He was undefeated in his first 11 fights while competing at heavyweight/light heavyweight, even winning the DEEP Openweight Championship.
Ken Hasegawa, ONE World Title Challenger, stated:
“After eight years of excellence as a professional, I have reached the next stage in my career, and I can’t be any more excited for what is in store for me. I am grateful to ONE Championship for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents to the world. It is an honor to face Aung La N Sang for the belt. I respect him and what he has accomplished, but I am confident of victory, and my hand will be raised as the new middleweight champion.”
ONE: Spirit Of A Warrior is slated to take place on June 29, live from the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon Myanmar.
No other bouts have been announced as of writing.