Aung La N Sang knows how to excite a crowd.
Ever since making his debut in ONE Championship nearly four 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, he 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, 23 February, he will attempt to create another highlight, as he challenges Brazil’s Alexandre “Bebezao” Machado for the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD. The main event bout will broadcast live from the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
For Aung La N Sang, this is another chance to make history. He has been granted an opportunity to become the second-ever dual ONE World Champion, only behind Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
Before this epic clash goes down, we revisit the Myanmar icon’s finest moments in ONE.
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.
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 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.
Taking Down A Giant
Merely four and a half months following his historic world title win, Aung La N Sang returned to Yangon to participate in the promotion’s first-ever Open-Weight Super Bout at ONE: HERO’S DREAM. He was paired against four-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing Heavyweight World Champion Alain “The Panther” Ngalani, a chiseled behemoth with enormous one-punch knockout power.
Both athletes respected each other’s skills, as they were tentative on the feet for the opening minute of the contest. While Ngalani wanted to keep the bout standing so he could use his devastating striking prowess, “The Burmese Python” wanted to bring his mammoth adversary to the ground.
Aung La N Sang made the first major move of the bout, as he cleverly backed up “The Panther” with a massive overhand right, and then bum-rushed him for a takedown attempt. Ngalani, however, used his brute strength to turn the tables and, instead, put him firmly on the mat.
Though Ngalani tried advancing his position to throw more effective ground strikes, the Myanmar sports hero nullified his attack by tying him up, which essentially fatigued the rambunctious hulk.
From there, Aung La N Sang attacked with submission attempts, first a guillotine choke, followed by an armbar. Defending those submissions was a task within itself, and further drained the hulk’s energy. In the end, the exhausted behemoth would submit to a guillotine choke with just 29 seconds remaining in the first round.