At ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24, Bhullar and Malykhin will ultimately square off for the undisputed ONE heavyweight world title. Arjan Bhullar will fight Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin for the vacant heavyweight championship.
After missing the scheduled world championship match against Malykhin in September of last year due to an arm injury, Bhullar will make his comeback at that time.
With a lot of fanfare, “Singh” entered ONE Championship.
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist in wrestling made his promotional debut at “ONE: Century Part II” in October 2019 after registering an outstanding 9-1 MMA record against top opposition.
He swiftly lived up to the anticipation, relying more on his constantly improving striking than his world-class wrestling to defeat Italian knockout artist Mauro Cerilli in a decisive decision match.
Bhullar battered his opponent on the feet throughout the fight, proving to the rest of the heavyweight class that he is more than just a wrestler by using deceptively quick hands and punishing dirty boxing.
The Indian superstar then faced Brandon Vera, the reigning ONE heavyweight world champion, for the title at “ONE: Dangal” in May 2021. “Singh” mixed his takedowns and struck wonderfully on his way to a second-round TKO while riding a wave of confidence and being in the best shape of his life.
The Filipino-American legend was pieced together by Bhullar’s exact punching combinations from the first bell until the fight was stopped in the middle of the second frame.
After that, he launched a barrage of powerful ground attacks, engulfing Vera in a barrage of attacks to spectacularly win the heavyweight title.
The 36-year-old would take a lengthy break from competition following his world championship triumph before making a comeback later this month.
Malykhin made his promotional début at “ONE: Fists of Fury II” in March 2021, just a few months before Bhullar won 26 pounds of gold.
Alexandre Machado was easily dispatched by the unbeaten Russian that evening, who knocked him out in the opening round to begin a four-fight winning run that propelled him to two-division success.
“Sladkiy” confronted the enormous Iranian Amir Aliakbari at “ONE: Revolution” six months later.
As if there were any questions, Malykhin once more demonstrated that he was a lethal weapon in his hands by dropping his opponent early with a thunderous right before putting an end to the fight with a jaw-breaking left hook.
The member of the Golden Team had made a name for himself as the most dreaded contender in the heavyweight category in just two matches and less than two rounds of action.
The biggest opportunity of Malykhin’s career came when he competed against Kirill Grishenko for the ONE interim heavyweight world title at “ONE: Bad Blood” in February 2022, while Bhullar stayed outside the ONE circle.
“Sladkiy” demonstrated once more in as many fights why he may be the toughest puncher in the ONE Championship.
Malykhin’s ground-and-pound from the top position in the first stanza was effective. However, the fireworks started in the second stanza when he struck with a huge leaping right hook that knocked Grishenko out cold.
Malykhin’s career reached its apex with that knockout, which also set up a future unification match with Bhullar because it left him with the interim title around his waist.
Malykhin made the decision to chase gold in a different division while “Singh” was sidelined due to injury. He challenged Reinier de Ridder for the ONE light heavyweight world title at ONE on Prime Video 5 last December.
In order to end the fight in the first round and defeat “The Dutch Knight” with one of 2022’s best knockouts, the 35-year-old once more displayed his thunderous power.
Malykhin is more than prepared for his eagerly anticipated unification fights against Bhullar. He is currently a two-division world champion and unquestionably one of MMA’s most deadly strikers.