A tough test awaits Vitaly Bigdash as he defends his ONE Middleweight World Championship title for the first time against Burmese mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Aung La N Sang.
The five-round championship clash is scheduled to headline ONE: QUEST FOR POWER, which takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia on 14 January.
Bigdash was originally penciled to make his first title defense against Marcin Prachnio, but the highly-touted Polish prospect was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury.
Stepping up to the plate is Aung La, who is riding high on a remarkable four-fight winning streak in ONE Championship and has won three of his cage assignments in 2016.
Bigdash, who captured the intricately-crafted ONE Middleweight World Championship belt with a scintillating knockout victory over Igor Svirid in October 2015, is facing the most experienced foe in his nearly five-year prizefighting career.
Aung La has fought in 29 professional matches and has squared off with some of the top middleweight fighters across the globe.
The 31-year-old Burmese standout holds stellar victories over Aleksei Butorin and Michal Pasternak. Meanwhile, he shared an MMA cage with international MMA household names such as Costas Philippou and Uriah Hall.
However, Bigdash simply downplayed his opponent’s wealth of cage experience and is confident that he will keep the gold-plated strap around his waist.
“Aung La is an experienced fighter, but he has experienced losses in the past. I am undefeated. My mindset is far different than his. I am coming into this fight with one thing in my mind, which is to win. He knows the feeling of losing. He will feel it again,” he said.
Bigdash is known for being a swift finisher, owning four knockout triumphs and four submission wins.
Although Bigdash has yet to go the distance in his young MMA stint, he has no qualms going full five rounds with Aung La.
“I am ready to go the distance with him. I don’t mind if he wants to strike and grapple on the ground for five rounds. I am ready wherever the fight goes,” he stated.
Returning to the ONE Championship cage for the first time since his title-winning performance, Bigdash eyes another decisive win.
“It has been a long wait for me. I consider my first title defense as an exciting moment in my career. I feel that something special is going to happen,” he ended.