Vitaly Bigdash is an undefeated champion, but remains something of an unknown quantity. The Russian has only fought once for ONE Championship, but it was enough to earn him the middleweight belt and several “fight of the year” nominations.
That was well over a year ago and the 32 -year-old did not fight once in 2016 due to injury. He returns to the cage at ONE: Quest for Power in Jakarta on Saturday and is desperate to be successful in his first title defense.
“Defending this title is my main priority for the near future. I want to remain a champ and defeat all my opponents.”
Bigdash had initially been schedule to face Karate specialist Marcin Prachnio, but the Polish middleweight pulled out of the title fight a few weeks ago and was replaced by the far more experienced Aung La Nsang.
The Burmese middleweight spent over a decade fighting on the highly competitive U.S. circuit and has won four fights out of four for ONE Championship.
“He is a completely opposite opponent and I had to change everything for this fight and opponent, but I think I am a well rounded fighter. A champion must be ready to defend the belt against any opponent, so I will be ready for this new contender,” Bigdash said.
Bigdash sees similarity between his style and La Nsang’s, but says he isn’t intimidated by the prospect of facing a 30-fight veteran.
“Our styles are pretty close, so we both will use the same weapons in this fight, and only in the fight we will know who is better in every area of fighting. I respect him as a fighter and respect his skills, but I do not see anything to be frightened of.”
This fight is scheduled for five rounds, but Bigdash has finished all eight of his previous opponents inside the distance. He has a reputation as being a finisher and says stoppages just come naturally to him once he steps inside the cage.
“It just happens; it’s always unplanned. I simply want to show beautiful spectacular fights. It just happens that they never come to a decision. It doesn’t mean anything. I am sure there will be wins via decision in the future and more difficult fights. Now I just try and finish before the match is over.”
Bigdash has a background in Karate, but it isn’t obvious from his style, and the Russian believes he has evolved over the years into a complete mixed marital artist.
“Kyokushinkai Karate is where I started. I did it for a bit and then moved to Thai boxing and MMA. I do not practise Kyokushinkai now and don’t follow its tournaments or ratings. It is just a sport where I started.”
TRENDING > UFC Cancels March 3 Event in Las Vegas
Long before he became the middleweight champion with Asia’s biggest MMA organization, Bigdash developed an interest in Japanese culture. It was not just the violent aspect of Karate which lured him into a lifelong obsession with martial arts.
“I liked the culture of oriental martial arts. The beautiful kimonos, bows, and the kata enchanted me when I was little, but many years have passed and there is only one sport in my heart now, MMA. I have devoted my whole self to it.”
His career is delicately poised at present. A loss to La Nsang could cause people to regard the fine win over Svirid as something of a fluke, whereas a win would have fight fans discussing exactly where the undefeated Russian stood in relation to the world’s best middleweights.
Bigdash is at a crossroads ahead of ONE: Quest for Power, but he knows exactly which direction he is going to turn on Saturday night.
“This is my belt, I am not giving it away.”
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter | Photos courtesy of ONE Championship)
Follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram