Bangkok, a city renowned for hosting monumental martial arts spectacles, is once again in the limelight as November 3 looms closer. Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is abuzz with anticipation for ONE Fight Night 16: Haggerty vs. Andrade, which promises not only two world titles but also an evening of intense combat, potent strikes, and unexpected knockouts.
While discussions rage about the matchups, Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin’s name reverberates with significance. Even though the reigning ONE Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight MMA World Champion isn’t competing, his ties to the event are undeniable. Two of his cherished comrades are stepping into the ring, making his anticipation palpable and on par with every devoted fight enthusiast.
Central to the fervor of ONE Fight Night are two epic battles. First, Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade, the tempestuous Brazilian, is set to face off against the razor-sharp Jonathan “The General” Haggerty from England. The prize? The prestigious ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title. But the excitement doesn’t end there. Elsewhere in the stadium, the South Korean titan, “Mighty Warrior” Kang Ji Won, readies himself for a monumental MMA showdown with the formidable Ben “Vanilla Thunder” Tynan.
Amidst this electric atmosphere, Malykhin shared his insights with onefc.com. His bond with Andrade, forged during rigorous training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, gives him an intimate perspective on the Brazilian’s prowess.
Malykhin observed, “In my opinion, the crucial quality Fabricio has that can help him win is his commitment to fight to the end. He is also physically very strong. Haggerty has never had such a physically gifted opponent. I think Fabricio is much more gifted specifically with his punches, and that will be his main advantage, besides his physique. Also, his punches are powerful.”
However, the accolades and predictions surrounding Andrade aren’t without reason. His ascent in the martial arts world charts a spectacular trajectory. From an emerging talent to an international phenomenon, Andrade’s shift from MMA to kickboxing has evoked both astonishment and respect in equal measure. As he steps up to challenge the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai champion Haggerty for the kickboxing title, the odds might seem daunting. Yet, Andrade exudes confidence.
His pointed observation, “It’s going to be a very difficult fight for him. Haggerty has never done kickboxing, so he’s not used to the rules. People say he has the advantage because I’m drastically changing sports from MMA to kickboxing, something nobody wants to do, but I think it’s going to be much more difficult for him.” underscores the tactical nuances that could very well dictate the outcome.
But diving deeper, beyond the strategies, stands Andrade’s raw power, which has become the stuff of legends. His remarkable journey in ONE, punctuated with four emphatic knockouts, attests to his domineering presence in the ring.
Bringing the nuances of power play to the forefront, Andrade remarked, “Haggerty was knocked out by Rodtang [Jitmuangnon], and that defeat was in a division below. As we are a category above, there will be a big difference in power in the strikes. And I believe that I have much more punching power than the guys in the lower division. So, Haggerty will really feel the power of my punches in this weight division.”
These words resonate with an assurance that this duel will be nothing short of electrifying.
Malykhin, with his rich experience, comprehends the complexities of martial arts like few others. He knows battles are unpredictable, more so when someone of Haggerty’s caliber is in the fray.
“Two champions can’t have a boring fight. We are talking about the major leagues here, two champions are fighting, so everyone should watch this fight and not blink. Clearly, no one is writing Haggerty off. He is the champion in this weight class [in Muay Thai]. Haggerty is a tough fighter with good timing and is well-trained. I think Fabricio will pressure him, take the center of the ring, and look for the knockout. The power of putting pressure on will win. I think Fabricio will win by KO from punches.” says Malykhin.
Despite the distinctions, he envisions the upcoming duel as a symbiosis of contrasting styles and tactics, eventually predicting Andrade’s aggressive approach as potentially being the tipping point.
Rounding off his reflections, Malykhin’s voice softened with genuine admiration when speaking about the heavyweight division and his bond with Kang Ji Won. Beyond the competitive spirits and potential face-offs, lies a deep-rooted respect.
“Kang is the dark horse of our heavyweight division. Everybody always thinks that he has the appearance of such a nice guy, a guy who can’t hurt you, but in the end, he drops everybody. So I think in this fight he will KO his opponent.” Malykhin shared.
As the curtains rise on November 3, the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium will not merely host fights. It will be a canvas where stories of grit, friendship, rivalries, and martial spirit unfold. Two world titles, countless aspirations, and an evening that promises to etch itself in the annals of martial arts history. With champions of this caliber, the night is poised to be legendary. After all, in the words of Malykhin, with such champions, it’s guaranteed to be anything but mundane. Don’t blink, or you might just miss history in the making!