Nearly three weeks ago, La “Lawless” Vang was crowned the Flyweight Champion after his three round unanimous decision over Mike Tubera at the Chicken Ranch Hotel and Casino.
Although Vang grew up in Ripon, he trains at Oakdale MMA academy and is a member of the Last Stand fight team. He began his journey with Oakdale MMA about four years ago and has been fighting for just under three years. He holds a professional record of 3-1.
“The first time I walked into the building, Professor Tom made me feel like family right off the bat. When I was introduced to everyone, they took me in and treated me like family right away as well. That’s one of the best things about training here. You have the support of everyone because we are one big family, really,” recalled Vang about his first memories of the academy.
Heading into his bout against Tubera, Vang was widely considered the underdog. Tubera entered the fight with more experience, entering the night with a record of six wins to only two losses.
“I entered the fight confident, I trained hard and did everything right. During the fight I played it out, and we went the distance. When they announced my name the victor, it was truly a great feeling,” Vang said. “I had worked hard and this is my first major title. I’m very proud to hold it and to bring it to Oakdale.”
Vang knew he couldn’t do it on his own. Like anything he has worked to accomplish, Vang said he needed close friends and family to help him be motivated. Vang credited his role models Professor Tom Theofanopoulos, UFC fighter and friend Michael “Mayday” McDonald, and his late friend Kenny Rorabaugh.
When Vang is not training, you can see him and others from the academy help the youth of Oakdale with their kickboxing classes.
“It is a lot of fun teaching the kids. I love the fact that when they make a mistake, I learn from their mistake so in return for me teaching them, they’re also teaching me in the similar mistakes I have made.”
Vang said he is ready to defend his title whenever anybody is ready to try and take it from him. His dream fight would be against the UFC Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson.
He also had words of advice and encouragement for fighters who want to get involved with mixed martial arts.
“Come into Oakdale MMA academy. If you are hungry, disciplined, and positive, then there is a spot for you here. Like I said, we are a family and there is no better place to train.”