Leandro Ataides has secured his date with destiny.
On Saturday, 12 May, the five-time BJJ World Champion knocked out former titleholder Vitaly Bigdash at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia. With the huge win, he has earned a shot at ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang’s coveted belt.
Bigdash was aggressive to start the match, but it was Ataides who took control of the center of the cage, and became the hunter for most of the opening stanza.
The pace of the contest began to pick up in the second frame. “Leo,” a five-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion with immense knockout power, continued to stalk his opponent, and applied pressure.
The two warriors measured their attacks, and successfully defended each other’s strikes early in the round, but at the halfway point, Ataides hit a huge counter punch that rocked the former titleholder. The Russian, however, is known for his durability, and managed to recover quickly.
In the final round, Bigdash tried to be more aggressive, but Ataides constantly changed his stance, and made it difficult for Bigdash to maintain consistent offense.
With just under three minutes left, Ataides rocked his adversary with a sensational Superman punch, which ultimately changed the whole complexion of the match.
Bigdash was stunned, and “Leo” capitalized as his opponent turned away. He pounced, and forced the match to the ground. He would not let up, as he delivered blow after blow on the fallen Russian until the referee had no choice but to step in and stop the contest.
The end finally came at 2:41 of the third round, and the victor was overcome with emotion as he had his hand raised.
Ataides lifts his record to 11-3, finds himself on a three-bout win streak, and cements his place as the top contender for Aung La N Sang’s ONE Middleweight World Championship.
The hulking Brazilian BJJ World Champion missed out on ONE gold after failing in his bid for the inaugural ONE Middleweight World Title. But now, he could very well realize his dreams, and become one of just a few athletes to win a world title in a second pursuit.