MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
WHEN Aung La Nsang (18-9-0) enters the cage for his second-ever fight in Myanmar, his home country, there will be a 6-foot-2-inch, angry Polish man waiting on the other side.
Meet Poland’s Michal Pasternak – the toughest fighter Aung La Nsang has faced to date.
‘It gives me extra fuel. I think that after the fight, most of his fans will be my fans as well.’
The two will meet in Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on October 7 during ONE Championship’s State of Warriors event. The fight offers a shot at redemption for Pasternak (11-1-0), who lost his most recent bout to Brazilian jiu jitsu legend Roger Gracie in the inaugural ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship.
In a recent interview with Asiaone, the Polish fighter addressed the setback.
“The opponent took advantage of my mistake in my last fight,” he said. “My coach is working with me to avoid that in the future. I need to use my best weapons, not adjust to his game. But it was a one-time flop against Roger Gracie.”
His record attests to the excuse, as Pasternak had never lost leading up to the Gracie match. Training with the Okninski MMA group in his hometown of Pinczow, the Polish punisher has spent most of his career fighting in and around Poland. The October 7 event will mark his first visit to Myanmar and just his third fight in Asia.
Having fought in both heavyweight and light heavyweight weight classes, he will make also be making his debut at middleweight (84 kilograms) against Aung La Nsang. Fighting “down” a weight class may afford Pasternak more quickness in the cage, though his hallmark has been stamina through three rounds: Of his 11 wins, five – or nearly half – have come via decision.
One such win, against Rafael Silva in Pasternak’s ONE debut, came after Pasternak suffered a serious knee injury early in the third round. The Pole showed toughness, grinding out a unanimous decision victory despite the damaged joint by taking Silva to ground and pounding him down as time expired. But the wound took its toll, and Pasternak would sit out for more than a year as his leg recovered.
This characteristic toughness and propensity to go the distance could spell trouble for Aung La Nsang: The Crazy88 fighter has lost all three of his fights that lasted three rounds and has never won a fight by decision. Though this could be a factor more related to his ability to dispatch opponents before the final bell than his inability to outlast a challenger, it nonetheless highlights an intriguing aspect of their upcoming match that could tell the difference in who emerges victorious.
Aung La Nsang, however, will have a rabid crowd cheering him on, and carries an unbeaten ONE Championship record.
“He is the host, so I think that he has a lot of fans there,” Pasternak told Asiaone. “But in fact, for me, it is more positive than negative. It gives me extra fuel. I think that after the fight, most of his fans will be my fans as well.” – Staff
Sports Minister Dr Myint Htway said the ministry would ensure that the ground was open to local people once it had taken over. But the town elders did not accept the minister’s reply. “We decided to reject it totally,” said U Kyaw Min Han.
“We will fight for getting back the stadium.”
Another committee member, U Ohn Lwin, said the elders would hold a press conference when they had heard back from an army major who had helped build the stadium in 1973.
“Major San Win, who led the effort to build the stadium, lives in Loikaw. We have asked him to make an audio file to prove that the stadium was publicly owned,” he said, adding that the original owner of the ground was not the ministry, but the community. According to the elders, the ministry has no business running their stadium.
The sports minister told the hluttaw that the stadium had been renovated after it was rented out to Nay Pyi Taw FC, but the team had agreed to give up the lease and hand it over to the government. – Translation by Win Thaw Tar and San Layy
Michal Pasternak is set to face off against Myanmar’s Aung La Nsang on October 7 in the ONE Championship State of Warriors event at Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
The Polish fighter has a record of outlasting his opponents, with nearly half of his wins coming by decision after a full three rounds.