Leandro Ataides’ sights are now fixed upon one of the staples of the One Championship organization.
The 34-year-old Brazilian will square off with former two-division titleholder Aung La N Sang in the One Championship “Battleground” main event on July 30 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Ataides owns a 5-4 record across nine appearances with the promotion, including a sensational 47-second knockout of onetime Deep champion Tatsuya Mizuno. He has not fought since he dropped a unanimous decision to the undefeated Reinier de Ridder at One Championship “Warrior’s Code” on Feb. 7, 2020.
As Ataides approaches his high-stakes battle with Sang, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He racks up the frequent-flier miles.
Ataides has taken his talents all over the globe. In addition to his native Brazil, he has fought in five other countries during his 15-fight career: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and China.
2. Immediate success hastened his development.
“Leo” hit the proverbial ground running in mixed martial arts. He made his professional debut on the Brazilian regional scene with a unanimous decision over Vitor Reis on Sept. 26, 2008 and proceeded to start his career with eight consecutive victories, four of them first-round finishes.
3. His world-class grappling skills are often forgotten.
Ataides owns the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Marcelo Pereira. Even so, his resume features only two submission wins: He took care of Alexandre Leao with a rear-naked choke at a Spartan MMA show in April 2012 and dismissed Thiago Libra with a keylock under the Shooto Brazil banner six months later.
4. Resilience led to his resurgence.
The Nova Uniao, Ruas Vale Tudo and Evolve MMA product fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when he suffered back-to-back-to-back defeats to Igor Svirid, Aleksei Butorin and Marcin Prachnio. Ataides rebounded with three straight wins over Mohamed Ali, Michal Pasternak and Vitaly Bigdash.
5. Inactivity has plagued him.
Availability has been an issue for Ataides, who has made multiple appearances in a calendar year only three times since he debuted in 2008. He fought three times in 2012, twice in 2014 and twice in 2016. Ataides did not compete at all in 2011 or 2019.
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