In addition to rematching Anatoly Malykhin this year, Reinier de Ridder plans to defend his middleweight title.
Reinier de Ridder, also known as ‘The Dutch Knight,’ has ambitious plans for 2023. On May 5 at ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video, he will first compete in a submission grappling match against Tye Ruotolo followed by two world title fights.
In an interview with Tom Taylor of South China Morning Post MMA, he said, “MMA. Hopefully, somewhere in July. Hopefully at middleweight first and then at the end of the year, [Anatoly] Malykhin at light heavyweight.”
Reinier de Ridder is a Dutch mixed martial artist who is currently the ONE Middleweight World Champion.
He has a professional record of 14 wins and only one loss, with his sole defeat coming from Anatoly Malykhin in 2022. De Ridder has shown his versatility in the sport, with seven wins by submission and four by knockout.
During their fight, Reinier de Ridder observed that Anatoly Malykhin had made significant strides in his striking abilities, which greatly impacted the outcome of the bout.
The Dutch fighter lost his ONE light heavyweight world title to the Russian opponent by knockout in the opening round of their match held at ONE on Prime Video 5 in Manila in December.
In retrospect, de Ridder admitted that he had not noticed Malykhin’s improved precision in striking, which he displayed in their fight, during his previous fights, including the one against Belarusian fighter Kirill Grishenko.
According to the reigning ONE middleweight world champion, Malykhin’s striking was much more accurate than he had anticipated, preventing him from executing his intended entry point and giving his opponent an advantage.
According to Ridder, “Between his last fight before, the Belarusian guy I think, he was just wild punches, wild right hooks, wild left hooks, wild overhands. He was not that technical at all. In our [Malykhin] fight, he did amazing, to be honest. His footwork was very well and his in-and-out work was very good. He threw very strong straights. [They] were strong, sharp, and fast punches. He really developed a lot between his last two fights.”
The fight ended when the referee stopped the match at the 4:35 mark of the first round, with de Ridder lying defeated on the mat.
He has also competed in various other combat sports, including submission grappling, where he has achieved success at a high level. Overall, de Ridder has established himself as one of the top fighters in the middleweight division and is known for his well-rounded skills and tenacity in the cage.
In defending his middleweight throne, it might perhaps be against former two-division world champion Aung La N Sang. Additionally, he is looking to avenge his loss of the light heavyweight crown against Anatoly Malykhin, who handed de Ridder his first career MMA defeat last year.
Before he can pursue his championship aspirations, however, de Ridder must first focus on his upcoming submission grappling bout against Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom Tye Rutolo at ONE Fight Night 10.
This match will be held at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, as part of ONE’s first on-site event in the USA. The event will be headlined by a world title battle between ONE flyweight world champion Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes.
Fans can catch all the action live and for free on Prime Video for all Amazon subscribers across North America.
According to Reinier de Ridder, if ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin can successfully defend against Arjan Bhullar’s takedowns in their upcoming unification bout, he will become the undisputed ONE heavyweight world champion.
In the same aforementioned SCMP interview, Reinier said, “It’s still an interesting one. Bhullar’s going to come in heavy with the wrestling pretty early on. That’s basically the thing. If Malykhin can stop the takedowns, he’s going to win.”
The two fighters will face each other at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24 in Singapore. De Ridder has first-hand experience of Malykhin’s defensive abilities, having lost his own ONE light heavyweight world title to him in December 2022 after failing to secure takedowns.
If Malykhin wins, he will become a two-division ONE world champion and continue his unbeaten streak in the promotion.