Aung La N Sang will begin his road to redemption at ONE: Battleground on Friday, July 30, in Singapore. And he’s not the only one.
Aung La N Sang Begins Road to Redemption
The Sanford MMA representative stood atop not one but two divisions in ONE Championship. “The Burmese Python” was more than a World Champion. He was also a symbol for Myanmar and the growth of mixed martial arts all throughout the region.
However, a surging Dutchman came for his gold.
In two consecutive bouts, Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder defeated the Sanford MMA product to take away both ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Championships. It has left Aung La N Sang back in the pack and having to work his way back up to a rematch.
Standing opposite him inside the ONE Championship Circle at ONE: Battleground will be Brazil’s Leandro Ataides.
Ataides shares a similar motivation as he, too, is coming off of a loss to De Ridder and is seeking to get back in the win column to chase the man from The Netherlands.
Before meeting the eventual king of the middleweight division, Ataides was enjoying a three-bout win streak with two decisive knockouts. The victim of one of those stoppages was former champion Vitaly Bigdash. The Brazilian seemed poised to be next up for “The Burmese Python” and the gold.
But it wasn’t to be after a closely contested bout that ended in a split decision loss to “The Dutch Knight.”
The shared disappointment and the shared drive to avenge defeats to the current king help drive a great story into this co-main event contest.
The in-ring action is almost guaranteed to be fireworks. Both Aung La N Sang and Ataides are warriors who march forward with a heavy arsenal. The Brazilian enters with a 73% finishing rate, and Aung La N Sang’s stands at 92%.
But the ramifications of the bout only serve to heighten its importance on the middleweight division.
Although “The Burmese Python” has dropped back-to-back bouts against De Ridder, he is still the current top contender in the division. His long reign as the champion is not forgotten, and defeating another competitor such as Ataides makes a rematch at middleweight viable.
For Ataides, he has come closer than anyone else to beating De Ridder. He can secure his rematch by knocking off the former champion and getting his shot at the belt.
It is impossible to state that this is a title eliminator, but there is no question the result will have a major impact on the title picture. These are two of the top middleweights going today, and a victory will put them a step closer to the end goal.
ONE: Battleground will air on Friday, July 30, at 8:30 a.m. EST/5:30 a.m. PST on Bleacher Report, B/R App, or B/R’s YouTube channel.
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