By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
ON Oct. 13 mixed martial arts veteran star Brandon “The Truth” Vera will take on one of the biggest challenges in his career, going for a second ONE Championship world title. And he intends to go about it by digging to his bag of experience as a fighter.
To take on “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang for his light heavyweight title at ONE’s two-part “Century” event at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Mr. Vera (16-7-1), the reigning heavyweight champion, said with the opportunity to be a double-champion in Asia’s biggest sports media property presenting itself, he just had to go for it.
“I wasn’t very comfortable doing that inside the cage. It was Aung La N Sang‘s time to shine, but I’ve been wanting to become a double titleholder — a champ-champ — and I’ve always wanted to challenge for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title,” said Mr. Vera, referring to the moment when he asked Aung La N Sang for the title fight back in March in Tokyo following the Burmese’s successful title defense against Japanese Ken Hasegawa.
“I just happened to be in Tokyo, the next event I wanted to compete on is in Tokyo, and I think it would be a beautiful main event or co-main event,” the Filipino-American champion added.
Mr. Vera, 41, however, said that getting past Aung La N Sang, who he has high regard for and describes as a “man among men,” would not be easy and that he has to come in to the fight with his A-game armed with the experience he has accumulated through years of fighting top martial artists in the world.
“I think the biggest difference between us is our experience. During his matches, I look for those little holes he still has because of his lack of experience. I’m not going to outpace Aung La, I’m not going to outwork Aung La. I’m not going to be a bully because that’s impossible. He’s been through the same system,” said Mr. Vera, who previously fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting prior to coming to ONE Championship.
“I have to find holes in Aung La’s game and exploit them while he’s doing the same thing to me. We come from the same school, the same train of thought, so this is why I’m super excited for this match,” he added.
Aung La N Sang is currently sporting a professional record of 25-10-1 and is riding a six-bout winning streak, five coming by way of knockouts.
The Aung La N Sang-Vera fight headlines the second part of ONE: Century, which marks the 100th show of the promotion since opening shop in 2011.
Under it are three world-class co-main events led by the world bantamweight championship fight between reigning champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil and former champ Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of the Philippines.
The flyweight muay thai world championship fight between champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand and Walter Goncalves of Brazil as well as the featherweight kickboxing world grand prix championship final between Italy’s Giorgio Petrosyan and France’s Samy Sana are the two other co-main events.
Part one of the offering, meanwhile, has the atomweight world championship fight between reigning champion Angela “The Unstoppable” Lee and challenger and women’s strawweight champ “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan of China.