Anatoly Malykhin Talks Future Plans, Favours His Chances Against Francis Ngannou

After 15 months of waiting, Anatoly Malykhin finally had his ONE Heavyweight World Title crowning moment on Friday, 23rd June, at ONE Friday Fights 22.

The Russian powerhouse entered his bout with divisional king Arjan Bhullar as the interim titleholder, but he quickly made it known that he was leaving as the undisputed ONE heavyweight Champion.

Malykhin has fought 13 times in his professional career, and he has won each bout via finish. While his contest with Bhullar appeared relatively one-sided, the two-division ONE World Champion confessed that “Singh” wasn’t as easy an opponent as he expected.

“I must give him some credit. He turned out to be a tough fighter and a tough guy. I just couldn’t beat him in the first round,” Malykhin said.

“I knew I was going to win, and I set out to give my best in every round, to put on a spectacular fight. I’m glad he made it to the middle of the third round, that I could continue beating him for longer. I’m glad he didn’t go down immediately.”

Now firmly seated at the top of ONE’s heavyweight and light heavyweight mixed martial arts divisions, Malykhin is hungry to keep adding to his legacy.

He has even made it clear that he wants to go after a third belt – in the form of Reinier de Ridder’s ONE Middleweight World Title.

But the 35-year-old has grand designs across the board. ONE boasts four sports under its banner, and he may even consider dipping his toe into another pool at some stage, given that MMA is all sown up.

“On kickboxing – of course, it’s a no. I don’t overestimate my chances. I look at things realistically. Kickboxing skills are not my strongest point. My kicks and elbow strikes are weak, but a grappling match with ‘Buchecha’ or De Ridder would be a good idea,” Malykhin said.

“I’m ready to fight Aliakbari in grappling. We can do it in August or July, no problem at all. That would be a cool event: Aliakbari and Malykhin – rematch, but in grappling. One is a classic wrestler, the other one is a freestyle wrestler. That would create some buzz.”

That said, Malykhin’s first focus will, undoubtedly, be defending his World Titles, and the heavyweight division may keep him busy doing that in the next few months.

At ONE Fight Night 13 on 5th August, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane will collide in a highly anticipated bout that may crown the first challenger to the Russian’s reign.

When asked who he would see as a dream opponent, Malykhin had one name in mind – Francis Ngannou.

The newly crowned heavyweight king had some choice words for the former UFC Champion, and who knows where that could lead.

“I would like to meet Francis Ngannou, of course, to see what he’s capable of,” Malykhin revealed.

“If he’s as strong as everyone thinks he is, I don’t think he would pass my test.

Severe MMA Staff

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