Last week, we witnessed ONE Championship crown Aung La N Sang as the promotion’s new Middleweight World Champion, where the “Burmese Python” redeemed his recent loss by executing a scintillating performance to capture the divisional title, all while creating history for his nation, as well as serving his seemingly invincible opponent the first loss on his otherwise unblemished fight record.
The exhilarating match captivated the world as the entire fight went back and forth in a technical battle of finesse, endurance and tactical execution. Both athletes each had their share of dominant moments and it was obvious the judges were going to be tested when the final bell rang after the five round war. There is no questioning the heart and will of both fighters. Except, once the result was announced, the internet erupted with shock from fans all around, as supporters of both camps express their heartfelt opinions in postings and comments. Of which, a significant faction are disagreeing with the judges’ unanimous decision.
Frankly, the FightGeek team was split on the decision too when we first watched the fight. But upon reviewing the match data, it became clear – under the judging criteria of ONE Championship – that Aung La N Sang indeed had the better showing for the night and was deservingly the winner of the epic rematch. Let’s dive in the data for a closer look…
The “Burmese Python” showed up with an extremely polished boxing game. He capitalised with exceptional movement and timing that created openings for him to land a total
30 Optimal Hits by punches alone. Of which, 20 landed from distance, with a Critical Hit percentage of 10%.
Just as the data implies, the match came down to Aung La N Sang’s superior striking that edged the predominant takedown and cage control of Vitaly Bigdash. The fact that ONE Championship’s judging criteria does not go by the individual rounds, plus, they favour near finishes more than cage control or strike volume, makes it evident that Aung was leading in the score cards since the very first round. Even though Bigdash did attempt a comeback with continuous successful takedowns, he wouldn’t have caught up unless he came close to finishing Aung in the process either via critical strikes or close submissions, which he failed to do so.
It seems Aung’s experience in surviving Bigdash’s onslaught from their previous match was definitely a huge advantage for his camp heading into the rematch, as he was fully prepared in neutralising the two weapons of the Russian powerhouse, which dealt the most significant damage to him during their last fight. Aung’s overall defence left Bigdash incapable of landing a single Optimal head kick from distance, nor elbows to the head while in top-control on the ground. Each time Aung was taken down, he was either able to stand back up, or was very specific in defending the elbows of Bigdash in his guard (though he did allow a high volume of punches landed to his body).
All in all, the fight was one for the ages as Myanmar now proudly boasts a first MMA World Champion on a global stage. FightGeek congratulates the new King of the ONE Middleweight division and we look forward to more excitement in the cage and inspiration in life from him!
Who do you think deserves the next shot at the middleweight title? Is it finally time for ONE matchmakers to give Polish sensation Marcin Prachnio his rightful turn, or would you like to see a decisive rubber-match between the current Champ and Vitaly Bigdash? Hit the comments and let us know!