Adrian Pang is Australia’s best lightweight and was in the process of establishing himself as one of the top 155-pound fighters in Asia when he was the victim of a brutal nightclub assault that put him out of action for over a year.
As the Legend FC 155-pound champion, Pang had engaged in some memorable wars with the likes of Yui Chul Nam and Jadambaa Narantungalag, but none of them took as severe a toll on his body as an unprovoked attack by a group of bouncers in Queensland.
The injuries Pang sustained that night were career threatening, but he bounced back to beat top Australian lightweight Jai Bradney last year and is set to make his debut for Asia’s biggest MMA organization in Beijing this Friday night.
Pang’s fight with Vincent Latoel will be the co-main event of ONE FC: Dynasty of Champions and the 37-year-old wants to prove he is still one of the top lightweights in the region.
“I am not one for talking, my actions in the cage speak for themselves, but it is important for me to perform impressively on my debut and to stamp my mark on the ONE FC lightweight division.”
Pang’s former adversary, Narantungalag, had dropped down a division and currently holds the 145-pound belt. The Australian aims to have a similar impact as a lightweight.
“To earn my shot at the ONE FC (155-pound) title would be a fantastic opportunity and Shinya Aoki is a legend in the sport as well as a dangerous submission master. I have watched him dismantle many an opponent’s limb, so it would definitely be a classic striker versus grappler match-up.”
However, Pang is reluctant to get ahead of himself and believes that he has enough on his plate coping with the challenge posed by Latoel at the Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium in Beijing this Friday night.
“Right now, I am focused on each opponent before me, so the belt does not concern me right now. From what I have seen, Vincent is a tough, unorthodox, well-rounded MMA fighter which, in this day and age, you need to be. He has an aggressive style that matches well against mine, so I look forward to testing my skill set against his.”
In his most recent fight, which was over a year ago, Pang made short work of Bradney in what was one of the most eagerly anticipated Australian MMA fights of the year. It was a tough bout to take after so long on the sidelines, but he was happy to dispel any doubts as to whether he would still be the same fighter in the aftermath of that assault.
“After such a long layoff due to injury, it was difficult to secure a comeback style fight, but Australian promoters had wanted the Pang vs. Bradney fight for years and it was just a case of who offered the largest purse. Bradney is a very aggressive, dangerous fighter with countless KO’s under his belt, so I knew it was going to be a tough night in the cage on my return and I shut a lot of doubters up when I KO’d him in the first round.”
Although Pang’s fight with Bradney was short and sweet, he has a well-deserved reputation for being in some entertaining wars and says anyone watching his ONE FC fights is in for more of the same.
“ONE FC fans can expect to see the classic Pang style that I am known for. I am an aggressive fighter that likes to fight and I am willing to take damage to give damage and am well rounded in all areas of MMA, so this fight will be nothing short of spectacular.”
It’s a bold claim, but Pang is well aware of the historical significance of being a part of ONE FC’s first ever event in mainland China and, after having fought numerous times in Hong Kong and Macau, he is looking forward to displaying his skillset in a city whose name will always be synonymous with martial arts.
“I travelled to Beijing when I was 15 with my Mother and brother and I am really looking forward to seeing the growth and progress since my last visit. I have seen the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall of China, and I am in awe of the history of such a great nation.”
Pang served as the striking coach for the Australian team on TUF: Nations and volunteered to step in and fight on the finale at a week’s notice when Evan Dunham pulled out of a proposed lightweight match-up with a last-minute injury.
The UFC matchmakers declined to take him up on this offer and a few months later Pang put pen to paper on a ONE FC contract.
“I signed for ONE FC because I have a recognized name in Asian MMA and they are the largest promotion in Asia and the second largest in the world. I’m very excited to be part of their organisation and I felt it was home for me.”
After just one fight in three years, Pang wants to start competing regularly for ONE FC and hopes that a win over Latoel in Beijing will be the first step towards securing a shot at the lightweight title in 2015.
Fans around Asia can catch ONE FC: Dynasty of Champions live on FOX Sports 3, while fans from around the world can purchase at US$9.99 from http://www.onefc.com/livestream.
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