hardknocks365 November 9, 2018

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Two-division ONE Championship World Champion Aung La N Sang is riding the crest of a wave as arguably the biggest martial arts star in Asia.

The modest 33-year-old known as “The Burmese Python” accredits much of his excellent recent form to his change of gym.

Aung La N Sang made big changes to his career in early 2018, moving his training to Florida-based gym Hard Knocks 365, where his game has improved under the tutelage of head coach Henri Hooft.

The former world and European champion kickboxer has a reputation as one of the best head coaches in mixed martial arts, and the Dutchman has taken Aung La N Sang’s game to a new level.

Since he started training with Hooft, the Myanmar athlete has claimed knockouts in each of his last two World Title bouts.

Now Aung La N Sang is looking to complete a hat-trick of knockouts when he takes on Mohammad “O Lutador” Karaki at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, 26 October.

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Andre Soukhamthath has already been involved in four-straight bangers in the UFC. His most recent bout against Sean O’Malley earning him Fight of the Night honors. Heading into the fifth bout of his UFC contract, Soukhamthath has been tasked with welcoming promotional newcomer Jonathan Martinez to the Octagon at UFC Moncton this Saturday night, after original opponent Gavin Tucker was forced off of the card due to health issues.

Before stepping into the cage on Saturday, Soukhamthath caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his exciting FOTN outing, as well as his thoughts on O’Malley’s failed drug test. Soukhamthath also detailed the various ways in which the Laotian-American was able to earn thousands of dollars to help aid the flood victims of Laos. The interview wraps up with the “Asian Sensation” giving his prediction for his UFC Moncton main card matchup.

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Andre Soukhamthath hit a setback last time out, but at UFC Moncton, he’s ready to show that he’s still going to be a big problem at 135lbs in the UFC.

Moncton, NB — Andre Soukhamthath heard the critics. Heard plenty from them after his loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 222. It’s a fight in which ‘The Asian Sensation’ was rocked early, only for O’Malley to later injure his leg. Yet Soukhamthath was unable to turn off ‘The Sugar Show,’ and got an earful for repeatedly taking O’Malley down rather than trying to knock him out. Armchair critics, for the most part. Yet Soukhamthath, who later left Twitter with a pointed message to the media saying “it takes two people to put on FOTN,” (the bout won Fight of the Night honors), is ready to put all that behind him at UFC Moncton this weekend.

“If I can take anything from that experience, it’s growth,” he said at Thursday’s media day, ahead of a fight with short-notice replacement Jonathan Martinez. “I should have did something, I didn’t do it, I got a lot of backlash for it, whatever. Growth man.” Besides not performing the way he wanted in the fight, Soukhamthath also felt he was too distracted by outside influences.

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A look back through Aung La N Sang’s body of work in ONE Championship will take the viewer on a thrill ride through some of the most memorable bouts in the organization’s history.

The two-division ONE World Champion has featured in some of the most thrilling encounters ever seen under the bright lights of ONE’s big arena events, and “The Burmese Python” is rightly proud of his career to date.

Aung La N Sang will look to make the latest defence of his ONE Middleweight World Title in Yangon, Myanmar on 26 October when he faces Mohammad Karaki in the main event of ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS.

Ahead of the contest “The Burmese Python” took time out of his busy schedule to chat about his career to date and some of the bouts that have defined his remarkable career.

Aung La N Sang captured the ONE Middleweight Title in a rematch against then-champion Vitaly Bigdash, and most recently defended the title in a thriller against Japan’s Ken Hasegawa.

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The name Aung La N Sang may not resonate deeply in the minds of western MMA fans, but for those who follow ONE Championship, the 33-year-old represents one of the promotion’s truly transcendent figures. The reasons for this go beyond his success inside the cage. The current ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world champion has the distinction of being the first athlete from Myanmar to earn a major professional title in any sporting discipline. As a result, Aung La has become one of the country’s most well-known and beloved figures, and whenever the “Burmese Python” competes on home turf it becomes something of a national event for the 53 million citizens of Myanmar.

Aung La is a technically sound fighter with high-level cardio who can end fights on the ground or on the feet. 12 of his wins have come via submission and nine via TKO/KO. For this training camp, he has been based in Florida at Hard Knocks 365, only a stone’s throw away from American Top Team where his upcoming opponent Mohammad Karaki trains.

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Life has changed for the better for UFC contender Anthony (Lionheart) Smith since moving up a weight class to light-heavyweight earlier this year.

Cutting weight to make 185 pounds as a middleweight proved too difficult for a fighter who used to walk around at 230. Not to mention dangerous.

Smith also stopped former title-holder Rashad Evans in the first round in June. The wins over Evans and Rua took just two minutes 22 seconds in total.

Both Smith and Oezdemir finish fights early. Between them they have some 30 first-round finishes.

The 29-year-old Oezdemir, who normally trains at the Hard Knocks 365 gym in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., spent the last two weeks before the fight training at Montreal’s Tristar Gym.

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Volkan Oezdemir has regrouped following a failed bid to reach the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight mountaintop.

Booked for his first appearance since his technical knockout defeat to 205-pound champion Daniel Cormier in January, the Swiss standout will collide with Anthony Smith in the UFC Fight Night 138 main event on Saturday at the Moncton Events Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick. The loss to Cormier snapped a five-fight winning streak for Oezdemir, who operates out of the Henri Hooft-helmed Hard Knocks 365 camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 29-year-old enters the match as a slight favorite.

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PLAINVIEW – It was only a few years ago that becoming a UFC fighter was a dream for Plainview’s Jonathan ‘The Dragon’ Martinez.

A week ago, Martinez, who got his ‘Dragon’ nickname at age 15 because of the way he wore his hair, got the call of a lifetime.

“I was heading to work at like 6 in the morning and they asked me if I wanted to take this fight in the UFC,” Martinez said.

After waiting a couple of hours and getting in contact with his manager, Wade Hampel, Martinez was signed for the bantamweight fight against Andre Soukhamthath during UFC Fight Night on Oct. 27. Not only will this be a new experience for Martinez as an official UFC fighter, but it will also be his first time in Canada, where the fight will take place.

Light heavyweights Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith will be the headline fight of the night.

Martinez hadn’t had a fight since September 2017 in Amarillo because of injury and opponents backing out, but has been in training at A Different Breed in Lubbock.

“I was already getting ready for a fight. I was supposed to fight on (Friday), so I said yes right away because I was pretty much ready,” he said on Monday. “Right now, I feel good.”

Martinez comes into the fight with a 9-1 record, which includes five knockouts. He trains with Danny Perez, though he has worked with legendary UFC coach Greg Jackson in New Mexico in the past.

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For the biggest fight in UFC history between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, you have a high-level striker with unshakeable confidence facing off against arguably one of the most ruthless wrestlers/grapplers in MMA.

As such, we are going to ask two talented wrestlers and two talented strikers their takes on both the physical and mental keys to victory in the fight.

Related: Check out Mindset Mike’s article about the value of the mental battle tonight.


I chose to focus my questions mainly to fighters at Hard Knocks 365 in Florida.  This is a gym known for two things: world-class striking with Henri Hooft and elite wrestling with Greg Jones and Kami Barzini which has yielded them over 30 UFC and Bellator fighters.

As a result, they attract the gold standard in both disciplines. Today, we sit down with elite strikers like light heavyweights Volkan Oezdemir and Linton Vassell.  We spoke to two wrestlers that spend time at Hard Knocks as well, with four-time Division-1 All-American and 9-0 Bellator Fighter Logan Storley and Chris Wade, NCAA All-American and current PFL Standout.

I also asked Nurmagomedov’s teammate at American Kickboxing Academy, Kyle Crutchmer, his thoughts on the fight. Crutchmer is an undefeated prospect out of AKA and a former All-American wrestler out of Oklahoma State University.

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Carlo Pedersoli Jr. is fine with marching into enemy lands. He just hopes that someday he gets the chance to be the one defending his territory.

Making his UFC debut on less than two weeks’ notice this past May, Pedersoli managed to defeat veteran Bradley Scott in Scott’s home country of England. Up next for Pedersoli is a welterweight matchup with Brazilian finisher Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday, another booking where he can expect a hostile crowd.

Pedersoli’s last two fights before joining the UFC also came against opponents backed by the majority of the audience. He fought Romanian Mircea Dumitrescu in the city of Brasov, and then traveled to Sweden for a Cage Warriors show where he fought Nicolas Dalby, who hails from neighboring Denmark.

Playing the visiting villain hasn’t been too troubling for Pedersoli (11-1), but he’s making it a point on Saturday not to leave things in the hands of the Brazilian judges after his last two fights ended in split calls.

“I think I have to improve every time. But I think that was a unanimous decision,” Pedersoli told MMA Fighting when asked about the split verdict against Scott. “It’s difficult because Scott was from England, so the judges are from England, so every time you fight in another place that is not your hometown you have to win by KO or submission because the decision will be difficult.”

Pedersoli is going up against a proven finisher in Oliveira, who hasn’t been to the scorecards in his past six outings. He hopes to match the ferocity of Oliveira and steal his spot in the contenders’ rankings.

“I don’t want this fight to end by points, by decision,” said Pedersoli. “I will try my best to finish this fight in my opportunities. But I know it’s a difficult fight, he’s one of the best in the division, but I’m hungry and I want my legacy, so I accept this fight because I think it’s a good moment to put it in the cage. I don’t have fear of anybody.”

Born in Miami to an Italian father and a Panamanian mother, Pedersoli is a man of many nations. Even his nickname “Semento” comes from the Japanese word for cement, a moniker he acquired when he spent time training in The Land of the Rising Sun. Pedersoli was raised in Italy and primarily trains in Rome at the Gloria Fight Center, though he has also made stops at Hard Knocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dynamix MMA in Los Angeles.

Read Full Post On MMA Fighting: https://www.mmafighting.com/2018/9/22/17889326/carlo-pedersoli-jr-hoping-to-bring-octagon-to-rome-after-ufc-sao-paulo