Vitaly Bigdash Ready To Return, Wants Ben Askren Fight

ONE Vitaly Bigdash

MMA has had a quiet start to the new year, but business is about to pick up and it all starts at ONE Championship’s show Quest for Power next week.

On January 14, ONE middleweight champion Vitaly Bigdash will defend his belt for the first time when he faces late replacement Aung La N Sang at the Jakarta Convention Centre on Saturday night.

Bigdash won the belt back in October 2015 when he defeated the former champion, Igor Svirid. Bigdash displayed tremendous heart and resolve, overcoming a strong performance by Svirid to rally and score the upset victory early in the second round to capture title.

Since then, the undefeated Russian has had to battle several injuries, but with that all now behind him, he’s ready to defend his belt and let the world stage know that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division.

“I was supposed to defend my title for the first time in April last year, but unfortunately I got injured so the fight didn’t take place,” Bigdash said speaking exclusively to FloCombat. “It was a long time off with the recovery, but all I was thinking about was getting back to fighting and I’m glad I’m finally now all healed up.”

Bigdash had been training expecting to face Marcin Prachnio, however, earlier this week the Polish fighter had to pull out due to injury. The Russian said he disappointed he wasn’t facing Prachnio, but as a man who’d also suffered injuries lately he wasn’t begrudging the late switch in opponents.

“My training has gone well for this fight and I’m now in easy mode,” Bigdash said. “It’s a little disappointing that I won’t be facing Marcin, but at the end of the day it’s not that annoying because injuries happen at the last moment.

“This is the sport—it happens and I understand.”

Asked how he expected the fight with Aung La N Sang to go, Bigdash wasn’t giving too much away in regards to his gameplan and instead said we’d have to watch on Saturday night to see how it would all unfold.

“I’m expecting a tough battle with this guy,” Bigdash said. “You will see what happens when we meet in the cage. I have a good idea how it will all happen, but I’ll be ready for anything he has for me.”

That had been rumors late last year that ONE were hoping to put together a ‘super fight’ between Bigdash and the ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren.

Unfortunately, the fight never came together, though the Russian is still hopeful that sometime this year the fight can go ahead.

“I can’t say why the fight didn’t happen,” Bigdash said. “What I will say is that Ben Askren is a very strong opponent and I really wanted the fight to happen.
“I want to fight three times this year and I hope to meet Askren in the future.”

Before he can even contemplate fighting Askren again, Bigdash must first deal with Aung La N Sang on Saturday night and keep his unbeaten record of 8-0. Asked what his ultimate ambition as in the sport, the Russian needed no second to pause for thought.

“I want to be the best and achieve everything I can,” Bigdash said. “My future lay lie in America, who knows. For the minute I’m in ONE Championship and I want to take the time to say thank you to the people who support me right now.

“I get many messages wishing me good luck. This makes all the hard work worthwhile and keeps me mentally strong. On Saturday I will do my best for them and I will get the win.”

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