Leandro Ataides, 31, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was supposed to fight in ONE Championship for the eighth time on January 20, 2018 at “ONE: Kings of Courage” but his bout against Vitaly Bigdash, 33, of Rostov, Russia was cancelled. Their middleweight bout will finally take place at “ONE: Grit and Glory” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 12, 2018.
“For me, every match is important,” Ataides said. “Every match is a title shot for me. Every time I step into the cage, it is a big deal for me. All my matches are important, and I always give 100 percent.”
“I know I will be champion eventually, but actually my goal is to be the number one martial artist in my division in the world,” the Brazilian fighter added. “That is what I focus on, but obviously, with that comes the belt.”
Ataides is reemerging as a top contender in ONE Championship’s exhilarating middleweight division. As a five-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, he has always had the advantage on the ground, but he has also grown into a truly complete martial artist, blending powerful striking and one-punch knockout power with his submission arsenal.
After spending a few years under the guidance of Evolve MMA’s many Muay Thai world champions, the Brazilian brute has won half of his bouts via knockout, which includes his 47-second destruction of Japan’s Tatsuya Mizuno and his flying knee knockout of Mohamed Ali that earned him the honor of ONE Championship’s Best Knockout of 2016.
The roadblocks that Ataides hit in his career have only made him stronger as he will now take a two-bout winning streak into his upcoming clash with Bigdash at “ONE: Grit and Glory.” For the Brazilian contender, his upcoming cage meeting with the former ONE Middleweight World Champion could be the one to give him the opportunity to challenge reigning champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, 32, of Kachin, Myanmar.
Here is a clip featuring Ataides: