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Reinier de Ridder (left) poses with his titles. Vitaly Bigdash prepares for a fight. Photos: ONE Championship.

ONE Championship 159: Vitaly Bigdash calls Reinier de Ridder’s submission prediction ‘a fairy tale’

  • Russian will challenge two-division champion De Ridder for the middleweight title at ONE 159 on Friday
  • ‘Let him say what he wants,’ Bigdash scoffs after Dutchman predicts second-round finish in Singapore

Reinier de Ridder has repeatedly predicted he will submit Vitaly Bigdash in the second round when they battle for the ONE Championship middleweight title.

But the Russian, who will challenge De Ridder for the belt in the main event of ONE 159 this Friday in Singapore, says that prediction is nothing but a “fairy tale”.

“It’s basic stuff that every champion should say,” Bigdash said during a pre-fight face-off interview with the champion. “Of course he’s not going to say he’s going to lose this fight. Let him say what he wants.”

De Ridder’s prediction is not just a guess. The 31-year-old Dutchman has rigorously studied Bigdash, and speaks of his fight with the Russian as if he has already watched it happen.

“He starts off very strongly, he starts off with a lot of power, but he does fatigue, he does fade,” the 31-year-old said. “He fades pretty early. He’ll be tired at the end of the first, come out guns blazing again in the second, and by the end of the second I’ll have him down and choked out.”

De Ridder (15-0) has made no secret of his belief Bigdash (12-2) has poor conditioning, and claims it is merely a product of the 37-year-old’s body type.

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“It’s basic physiology,” he said. “He’s very muscular. Muscles need a lot of oxygen, and we’ve seen it in all his fights: he gets tired. I don’t get tired.”

But Bigdash claims to have patched up those holes in his game, having put in another gruelling camp at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.

“For this fight I lost a lot of weight,” he said. “I was preparing especially in Thailand for this.”

Reinier de Ridder controls Kiamrian Abbasov on the ground.

With a solid camp behind him, Bigdash is confident he will be able to deal with De Ridder’s trademark pace and grappling and swipe the belt for himself.

In fact, he has a bold prediction of his own.

“I’m sure that I will solve this puzzle on Friday night,” Bigdash said. “The fight will show everything. I will either submit him or finish him with striking.”

Vitaly Bigdash searches for a rear-naked choke against Aung La N Sang at ONE: Full Circle.

Bigdash last fought at ONE: Full Circle in February, when he defeated former two-division champion Aung La N Sang by decision to earn a shot at De Ridder.

The Dutchman also fought that night, defending his middleweight title against welterweight champ Kiamrian Abbasov, but has competed once since, battling Andre Galvao to a draw in a submission grappling match at ONE X in March.

ONE 159 will be co-headlined by an interim Muay Thai title fight between American kickboxing champion Janet Todd and debuting Spaniard Lara Fernandez.