Category Archives: Hard Knocks 365

ONE Championship light heavyweight and middleweight champion Aung La N Sang is more than a two-belt titleholder. He is a national hero for his native Myanmar, and through his success, he has changed and saved lives, bringing the strife-ridden country together.

He never imagined that would happen to him, but it did, and he accepts the responsibility of being a role model. His demeanor, drive, work ethic and values make him a great representative of the ONE Championship mantra in and out of the ring.

Also a wildlife activist, his sights these days are set on his next fight.

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A current two-division world champion and the 2018 Fighters Only World MMA Awards International Fighter of the Year, Aung La N Sang likely remains an unknown to all but the most hardcore of MMA fans.

That doesn’t bother him one bit.

“I respect everybody, and if people don’t respect me, it doesn’t bother me,” N Sang told MMA Junkie. “Obviously, the Western media is not going to cover ONE Championship as much. The fact that I’ve been fighting mostly in Asia doesn’t help, either. But skillwise, I know where I’m at. I’m in the room at Hard Knocks 365. I know what I’m capable of, and I train with Kamaru Usman and the best guys in the world, so it’s not a big deal for me.”

N Sang is the reigning middleweight and light heavyweight titleholder under the ONE Championship banner. A native of Myanmar, N Sang relocated to the U.S. to attend college, launching his professional MMA career shortly after. He registered early appearances with regional stalwarts such as Cage Fury Fighting Championships and Ring of Combat, even fighting once under the Bellator banner.

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Saturday is a busy day in the MMA world. UFC 242 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+) and its lightweight title headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier is getting the bulk of the attention. But Bellator has a compelling card Saturday night in San Jose, California, that won’t actually go head-to-head in terms of time slot with the big UFC pay-per-view event.

Bellator 226 (10 p.m. ET, DAZN) features a heavyweight title main event pitting champion Ryan Bader against veteran Cheick Kongo. Also on tap is the launch of the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix, with four of the eight first-round tournament fights happening on the card from SAP Center.

Here’s what to watch at Bellator 226:

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At first I was very iffy,” he said. “We tried to come up with a plan, and then we were like, ‘Oh, wait. The new PI is right there in Shanghai,’ so it just worked out perfectly.”

For the next couple of weeks, he and teammate Thiago Moises essentially lived at the new UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai and loved it.

“It was an amazing experience,” Soukhamthath said. “If I were to come here a week earlier, I would still be shocked just by the time change, by the culture, by the food, by just the atmosphere being here. Breathing the air is different, so I’m very happy my team and I came up with that vision and followed up with it.”

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After knocking out one of the hottest prospects in Bellator, Hungarian star Adam Borics is riding a tidal wave of momentum. Now he’s heading into the Bellator featherweight grand prix looking to extend his unbeaten run all the way to the final and title belt.

In his last outing, undefeated Borics (13-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) spectacularly knocked out Aaron Pico at Bellator 222 in June as the 26-year-old announced himself as a serious threat to the division’s best. And now he says he’s ready to make his mark against the biggest names in Bellator’s 145-pound class.

“I am so excited, but I am the same person who works hard every day,” Borics told MMA Junkie. “I have a goal to become a world champion, and I’m working towards that every day.”

That knockout against Pico, a stunning flying knee, catapulted Borics to stardom back in Hungary, and he said he was mobbed when he returned there after his fight.

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Zhang “Magnum” Weili is yet to face the music but the Chinese fighter’s looming title fight with Brazilian UFC champion Jessica Andrade seems to be changing the way her country is looking at MMA.

The immediate impact has been felt among the fighters.

“The fact that she is fighting for a title has really motivated me and I am not the only one,” Li “The Leech” Jingliang said on Friday. “Perhaps this is just the start and from now on you will see many more from China fighting for titles, including male fighters.”

Zhang’s match-up with Andrade has assured her a place in the history books as the first Chinese fighter to be given a title shot by the UFC.

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Herbert Burns thought he had his chance with the UFC locked up back in April. He was on the main card in a prominent fight at Titan FC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sitting cageside was UFC president Dana White, with the cameras rolling for White’s “Lookin’ For A Fight” show.

With an impressive performance, fighters competing on “Lookin’ For A Fight” can immediately get signed to a contract, which is how Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall got into the UFC.

Burns did his part. He took down opponent Luis Gomez right off the opening bell, took his back and finished with a rear-naked choke submission at 2:24 of the first round. White and show co-stars Matt Serra and Din Thomasappreciated the effort. White said Burns won “in impressive fashion.” Serra said the bout was essentially over in 10 seconds.

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After competing on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Dana White’s Contender Series, LFA, and various other regional promotions, Jason Jackson has finally found a home with a major promotion.

Jackson (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who trains out of Hard Knocks 365 in South Florida, has signed with Bellator, a promotion official confirmed following a congratulatory tweet from LFA. The terms were not disclosed, however, Jackson stated on social media it’s a multi-fight deal.

Jackson, 28, first entered the national spotlight on “TUF 21: Blackzilians vs. ATT.” He represented the since-demised Blackzilians, and Jackson went 1-1 in exhibition bouts on the show. After he defeated Marcelo Alfaya by decision, he was submitted by future-UFC veteran Mike Graves.

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Derek Brunson isn’t ready to play gatekeeper for anyone. The UFC veteran of 16 fights survived a scary opening moment of the fight to edge out a decision over Ian Heinisch in the first bout of the pay-per-view main card at UFC 241 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

The fight was a battle of top 10 middleweights with Brunson entering the Octagon ranked No. 8 to Heinisch’s No. 10.

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International Fight Week 2019 is in the books after being capped off by UFC 239, which went down Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The card was headlined by arguably the greatest fighter of all time, Jon Jones, defending his light heavyweight title against Brazilian slugger Thiago Santos. The fight was a surprisingly close back-and-forth contest which saw “Bones” winning a split decision using a slower, more calculated attack. The main event came after three straight spectacular knockouts that might have stolen some of the headlines from Jones’ title defense.

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