On July 22, Vitaly Bigdash will challenge Reinier de Ridder for the ONE Middleweight belt in the main event of ONE 159.
He's arrived at this point after three impressive victories, including a trilogy fight victory over longtime rival Aung La N Sang in February, and he's excited to compete for gold at the Singapore Indoor Stadium once more.
Speaking to ONE Championship recently, he noted that it has been more than five years since he held the ONE Middleweight title.
“Five years and 22 days. That’s how long it will have been since I held the belt in my hands. And every hour, every minute has been dedicated to exactly this moment. It will be the new step in my career I’ve long been longing for. It will be the peak of my MMA career. Taking the belt of the best league in the world is the dream of every MMA fighter,” Bigdash noted.
Reinier De Ridder, on the other hand, comes into the fight with an undefeated record. Bigdash is aware of the impressive resume that the Dutchman has.
“I consider him a tough, strong fighter. He has been undefeated so far, a champion in two weights. His awards speak for themselves. I [don’t] underestimate him in any way. But he has not met a fighter like me,” Bigdash noted.
But at the same time, Bigdash is aware of the weaknesses of the reigning two-division champion.
“His weakness is of course his striking. [He has] very weak strikes with his arms and legs, I think this is his big omission. Also, I think, nobody has seen him lying on his back. His power is his top control, but nobody has seen him in the guard position on his back, defending and attacking [from that position],” the Russian added.
Bigdash clearly believes he can handle whatever De Ridder brings to the table in Singapore. In recent fights, the former Karate Champion has shown off his wrestling and submission skills, and he has a stellar professional MMA record of 12-2.
So, while "The Dutch Knight" described him as "predictable" in the run-up to their match, the Russian intends to overwhelm his opponent on July 22 with a well-rounded arsenal.
What are your predictions for the ONE 159 main event? Let us know in the comments below.