The highly anticipated unification bout for the ONE Heavyweight World Title between Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin has been given a new date. The clash of these colossal fighters will take place at ONE Friday Fights 22, broadcasting live during Asia primetime from Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 23. This monumental showdown has been a long time coming.
Initially, Malykhin was set to challenge Bhullar for the belt at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE in January 2022. However, the Canadian-Indian champion and his management team declined the bout offer. Shortly after, the mighty Russian secured a knockout victory over Kirill Grishenko, earning the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Championship at ONE: BAD BLOOD.
Since then, a unification match between Bhullar and Malykhin had been planned on multiple occasions, only to be hindered each time by unforeseen obstacles. Bhullar's injury forced him to withdraw from their scheduled clash at ONE 161 in September 2022, and a shift in broadcaster commitments led to the bout's removal from the ONE Fight Night 8 card in March.
After a year and a half of anticipation, the wait will finally come to an end on June 23. The ONE Heavyweight World Title unification bout, though long overdue, promises to be worth every moment of anticipation.
Bhullar, a Commonwealth Games Wrestling Gold Medalist who represented the Canadian wrestling team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, boasts an impressive 11-1 MMA record. He dethroned the division's inaugural king, Brandon Vera, in May 2021, becoming the first MMA World Champion of Indian descent.
Likewise, Malykhin, a European Grappling Champion hailing from Russia, achieved the esteemed Master of Sport honor in freestyle wrestling. Dubbed "Sladkiy," he holds a flawless 12-0 MMA record with a 100 percent finishing rate. In addition to his victory over Grishenko for the interim heavyweight belt, Malykhin knocked out the previously undefeated superstar Reinier de Ridder to claim the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title in December.
On June 23, these two titans will collide in the most significant heavyweight fight in ONE Championship history, determining the true undisputed king of the division