Aung La N Sang knows how to excite a crowd. Ever since making his debut in ONE Championship three years ago, the “Burmese Python” has become one of the most beloved superstars in the promotion.
Known for his fearlessness and his thrilling offensive style, has marched his way to the ONE Middleweight World Championship with the most victories in divisional history, and created unforgettable moments along the way.
On Friday, 3 November, he will attempt to create another such highlight as he tries to stop four-time Muay Thai and kickboxing heavyweight world champion Alain “The Panther” Ngalani at ONE: HERO’S DREAM. The match-up, which will be the organization’s first-ever Open Weight Super Bout, will broadcast live from the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
Before that epic clash goes down, we revisit Aung La N Sang’s finest moments in ONE Championship.
Submitting Aleksei Butorin
After blazing through his first two opponents in the ONE cage, Aung La N Sang got his third consecutive stoppage victory at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (HEFEI) in July 2016.
The “Burmese Python” met previously-unbeaten Russian juggernaut Aleksei Butorin at the event, and after a failed takedown attempt ten seconds into the opening stanza, the match became a calculated ground battle. Both athletes exchanged dominant positions, leg lock submission attempts, and ground strikes.
While Butorin seemed to have the edge heading into the second round, Aung La N Sang would turn up the heat. The Myanmar hero absorbed his rival’s best shots, and retaliated with harder strikes of his own. Soon, he brought the tired Russian against the cage, where he locked in an arm-triangle choke, dumped him to canvas, and tightened his grip until he felt the tap.
Aung La N Sang concluded a stellar 2016 with his stiffest test of the year in Michal Pasternak, who made his middleweight debut after a failed conquest for the inaugural ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship five months earlier.
The match was set for October at ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS in Yangon, and it certainly lived up to its billing. In the first round, Aung La N Sang pushed the action. He punished his Polish adversary with leg kicks and fierce power punches, all while dodging many of his opponent’s strikes.
The “Burmese Python” continued throwing leg kicks in the second frame, but shortly after Pasternak scooped him up for a takedown, the Myanmar hero reversed the position and began his assault. Eventually, the two stood up, and Pasternak finally got his takedown to end the round with some ground strikes of his own.
In the third round, Aung La N Sang ran away with the result. He beautifully dodged Pasternak’s attacks and masterfully peppered him with counter punches. The local favorite also stuffed his enemy’s last-ditch takedown attempt, and proceeded to smother Pasternak with submission attempts and ground-and-pound to seal the unanimous decision victory.
Making World Championship History
In June 2017, five months after facing ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash on two weeks’ notice and losing a grueling five-round decision, Aung La N Sang returned to challenge the undefeated Russian again at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION, this time in front of a roaring hometown Yangon crowd.
With an eight-week training camp under his belt, the rematch turned out to be a very different contest. That was apparent in the first round, when the reinvigorated “Burmese Python” rocked Bigdash with a head kick that sent him crashing to the canvas. The local hero nearly secured the TKO, but as the Russian has proven time and time again, he is incredibly durable with the true heart of a champion.
Throughout the rest of the bout, each athlete vied to impose a polar opposite strategy. Bigdash would repeatedly take Aung La N Sang down, but the challenger kept nullifying his ground attacks and ultimately prevented the champion from doing any real damage. However, the “Burmese Python” would batter the titleholder on his feet with powerful strikes, and consistently sought the finish.
Ultimately, Aung La N Sang’s constant offense and near-finish played the most crucial role of all, as the judges awarded him with the unanimous decision victory and the ONE Middleweight World Championship. With the win, Aung La N Sang secured his spot in history as Myanmar’s first-ever world champion in history.