One Championship completes their first series events working in tandem with TNT with ONE on TNT IV headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between Aung La Nsang and Reinier de Ridder. Nsang will defend his LHW belt against a former foe in De Ridder, who is attempting to become a two-division champion as he moves up a weight class.
Aung “The Burmese Python” La N Sang – 26-11
One Championship’s light heavyweight champion, Aung La N Sang, holds victories over top-level opponents such as Vitaly Bigdash. Alain Nglani and Brandon Vera. The only man to defeat him in the past 4 years is Reinier De Ridder. N Sang will look to rewrite the loss emphatically.
In a division that does not have the depth of One Championship’s lower weight classes, N Sang truly stands out as an elite talent. ‘The Burmese Python’ initially comes from a BJJ background, but years of training at Sanford MMA have left him with all the skills necessary to be called a true mixed martial artist.
His kicks are lethal, and he has a habit of targeting the body to force his opponent to lower their hands. Once they expect the body kick, he switches to the head, as he did against Alexandre Machado. As is the norm for many of the fighters training under Sanford’s head coach Henri Hooft, nearly every single strike N Sang throws has weight to it, meaning that a knockout could really come at any time.
Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder – 13-0
The current One Championship middleweight champion Reinier De Ridder has torn through his division, culminating in a submission victory over La N Sang in 2020 to claim the belt. Still undefeated, de Ridder is now looking to move up and take yet another of N Sang’s titles.
De Ridder’s style comes from a combination of Judo and BJJ. His game plan is nearly always the same, get his opponent to the mat and chase the submission, and yet 13 fights into his career, and no one has been able to stop him. He does not discriminate with his choice of submissions, having finished opponents via RNC, D’Arce, and armbar.
Whilst the striking department is not De Ridder’s primary focus for obvious reasons, he still has some effective tools. He has a sharp jab, which he utilizes as a way of transition into takedowns. Against Leandro Ataides, we saw him establish the jab as a dangerous weapon early on, snapping Ataides’ head back twice and then stepping out of range both times. However, the third time, De Ridder throws the jab and immediately shoots under for a single leg takedown. His judo base also means he is a constant threat in the clinch, repeatedly looking for hip or head & arm throws.
When these men fought back in 2020, the result could not have been more decisive. De Ridder secured a body lock takedown, throwing N Sang to the canvas. From there, it was just a matter of time. De Ridder secured the back, and whilst N Sang initially defended well, it was not enough to stop the inevitable submission finish.
However, this time there are several factors that may see the fight pan out differently. Firstly, De Ridder is taking this fight on short notice. N Sang’s initial opponent was supposed to be Vitaly Bigdash, who dropped out due to covid protocol. Will De Ridder be physically ready for a fight on short notice. There is also the fact that this fight is a weight division up from their original contest. De Ridder was essentially able to ragdoll N Sang at middleweight, but there may be less of a straight differential this time out.
N Sang undeniably has a chance to get one back over De Ridder. He had success early on in their initial fight with low-leg kicks. These could be a great tool for N Sang, taking away De Ridder’s stability will severely impact ‘The Dutch Knights’ ability to land takedowns. However, the ease in which De Ridder choked out N Sang in 2020 indicates that should he get the fight to the ground, a submission stoppage will be imminent.
ONE on TNT IV
ONE on TNT IV takes place on 28 Apr (Wed) at 8:30 PM EDT. It will be headlined by Aung La N Sang, defending his light heavyweight belt against Reiner De Ridder. Also featured on this card is Eddie Alvarez vs. Ok Rae Yoon and Oumar ‘Reug Reug’ Kane vs. Krill Grishenko.