“The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang will return home on 26 October for the latest bout in his remarkable ONE Championship career.
Myanmar’s biggest sporting hero is set for action in the main event of ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon when he faces undefeated contender Mohammad “O Lutador” Karaki at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
Aung La N Sang’s bouts in Yangon are always must-see TV, and the man himself is equally excited to return to the arena that has seen him achieve so much success in recent months.
“I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great match-up,” the 33-year-old says.
“It’s just a different world over there. It’s motivating for me. It motivates me to do better, to get better, and to become better. I’m excited.”
The bout will see the two-division ONE World Champion defend his ONE Middleweight World Title as he looks to follow up on one of the greatest battles in the promotion’s history.
“The Burmese Python” was dragged into the fifth round by Japan’s Ken Hasegawa at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR, but he had the last word in the epic contest with a huge knockout.
“When I fight, I always look for the finish. It doesn’t matter if it’s round one, round two, round three, or all the way to round five. I’m always looking to get the finish,” he explains.
“Ken Hasegawa is a very tough opponent, very game, so it was a five-round war until the very end.
“I took away a lot. I learned a lot about his style as a southpaw and my difficulties getting range with a guy that moves like that. I’ve been adjusting and making some changes to sharpen my technique up.”
Aung La N Sang’s latest challenger arrives in ONE as an undefeated contender. Lebanese star Karaki has a career record of 9-0 including eight stoppage finishes.
He is already a two-weight Desert Force Champion and Phoenix Middleweight Champion, and he is looking to add to his collection of belts by dethroning “The Burmese Python” and claiming the ONE Middleweight World Title.
“I know he’s more of a grappler. He has heavy, heavy hands when he grounds and pounds,” Aung La N Sang says.
“I’ve seen most of his fight videos, so I know what kind of arsenal he has. I don’t need to watch his fights every day. I can watch it a couple of times and I can understand the kind of fighter he is, the kind of pressure he uses, and what his strengths are.
“He hasn’t fought the level of fights that I have. I’m going to test him during the fight, and it’s going to be a great fight.”
Aung La N Sang is a national hero to the people of Myanmar, who pack the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium every time he competes. The atmosphere generated in the arena during his bouts has fast become known as one of the most electric in global mixed martial arts.
The ONE Middleweight World Champion is used to the pressure of competing in such intense surroundings, but it will be Karaki’s first exposure to overwhelming noise, which can be intimidating for a first-time athlete.
“Every time you step out in the arena, it’s crazy – all the fans cheering, going crazy,” Aung La N Sang says.
“I’ve been there, and I know how to deal with the nerves. It’s going to be up to him if he can deal with those nerves. That kind of excitement can get to a fighter without as much experience.
“As much as I appreciate and I’m very thankful for all the fans, it doesn’t really get to me on the night of the performance.”
As well as its atmosphere, the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium holds added significance ahead of the bout.
Aung La N Sang has never lost a bout in the Yangon arena, and he plans to continue that run of success with another victory in front of his countrymen on 26 October.
“I’m going to break him in the first round,” he predicts.
“He’s going to feel it in that first round. In rounds two and three, I’m going to take him out.
“I say that, but if it goes five rounds, I’m more than happy to go five rounds. I’ve been there before, and I’m bringing everything I have with me. I’m ready to go.”