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Reinier de Ridder chokes out Vitaly Bigdash to retain his middleweight MMA title at ONE 159. Photos: ONE Championship

ONE Championship 159: Reinier de Ridder puts Vitaly Bigdash to sleep in first round, declares ‘you know what’s next’

  • The undefeated ‘Dutch Knight’ chokes out former middleweight champ with inverted triangle to retain belt in Singapore main event
  • De Ridder again calls for a crack at heavyweight title as he bids to become first three division champion in promotion’s history

Reinier de Ridder made a huge statement in the main event of Friday night’s ONE Championship 159 card in Singapore, putting Vitaly Bigdash to sleep in the first round to retain his middleweight title.

The undefeated “Dutch Knight” strengthened his claim to being the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the Asian martial arts promotion with another dominant performance, choking out the former champ with an inverted triangle after just three minutes and 29 seconds.

Two-division champ De Ridder, 31, then told ONE commentator Mitch Chilson “you know what’s next” in his post-fight interview in the Circle, alluding to his bid for a third title at heavyweight.

“Anybody in the world, Mitch. Anybody in the world I’ll finish. I’ll strangle anybody on the planet,” said De Ridder, who also holds ONE’s light heavyweight MMA title.

“I’m done asking. You know what’s next,” he added, when asked about facing the winner of the mooted unification bout between heavyweight king Arjan Bhullar and interim champ Anatoly Malykhin.

“I want them both in the same night. Let’s go. I’m ready.”

He did have to survive an early scare in the opening 30 seconds, when Bigdash (12-3) locked in his trademark guillotine after the Dutchman shot in for a takedown against the fence.

But ultimately De Ridder did what he said he was going to do, backing the 37-year-old Russian up, taking him down and finishing him – although he had predicted the end would come in the second round.

Reinier de Ridder celebrates with his ONE middleweight MMA title after submitting Vitaly Bigdash at ONE 159 in Singapore.

“I got him a little earlier than I thought,” De Ridder said. “I had to wear him out a little bit. But I got him – this is a move I do a lot in training.

“I was definitely a bit surprised. It {the guillotine] was pretty tight, he did very well. But there’s a better way to do it. I’ll show him next time.

“I do this every training session, almost every roll I catch people with this. I train with new people, I catch them with it every time. If I train with people a little longer they get hip to it, it gets a little harder. But it’s what I do, man – I choke people out.”

BJJ black belt De Ridder also picked up another US$50,000 bonus for his efforts, having racked up his seventh straight victory in MMA competition in ONE.

Having already attained rarefied status as a double champ in ONE, De Ridder is bidding to become the first three-division champion in the promotion’s history.