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Arjan Bhullar carves out ideal path for two division gold

LockerRoom Team
02 December 2022

It has been some time since fans have seen ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar inside the Circle, but the Indian-Canadian will be watching this weekend’s fights in Manila, Philippines, closely.

This Saturday, 3 December, in the main event of ONE Fight Night 5, two-division ONE World Champ Reinier de Ridder will defend his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title for the first time against ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin. 

Bhullar has both men on his hit list as future opponents, and although he praised the entertainment value of this match, he quickly went in hard on the duo.

“It’s a classic matchup. You’ve got a grappler in RDR (Reinier de Ridder), and you’ve got a striker-grappler in Anatoly. Anatoly has more ways to win, and that’s the way this fight goes. RDR is a specialist in jiu-jitsu. Malykhin is a wrestler who’s falling in love with his hands. Both have got undefeated records,” he said before flipping the switch.

“RDR’s stand-up is so sloppy. If Anatoly doesn’t catch him, he’s absolute garbage. So, the pressure’s on both of them to come up with something, but more for Anatoly, in my opinion.”

Given that Malykhin is the interim titleholder, a win for him at ONE Fight Night 5 could see him battle Bhullar next. However, if De Ridder wins, he might very well face the Indian first.

Either way, Bhullar is confident of his chances against either of them.

“I think they’re both trash, and I can’t wait to fight both of them,” the heavyweight king said. "And they have undefeated records because neither has fought me.

“Ideally, RDR gets it done, so I could get Malykhin [at heavyweight] and have RDR at 225 pounds [light heavyweight]. But either way, I could care less. I want both of them.”

Bhullar and Malykhin were originally scheduled to unify the title in September at ONE 161, however an injury forced the Indian slugger to the sidelines.

Three months later, Bhullar is back to full health and relishing the opportunity to return to his throne among the heavyweights.

“I’m recovered. I was cleared on November 7, and I have let the company know,” the 36-year-old said.

“These guys are fighting on December 2. Book me for December 3. Send the contract. I want to get booked. I want to get active.”

The American Kickboxing Academy standout is eager to dethrone Malykhin and stake his claim as the real heavyweight ruler. But that’s just the beginning of his plan.

“The next fight is going to be either Malykhin – to get his fake title out of there and shut his mouth up – or it’s going to be the winner of Brandon Vera vs. Amir Aliakbari, and I would like Amir,” Bhullar said.

“That’s what makes sense for me. And then I drop down to fight RDR [at light heavyweight] after that. That’s the ideal path for me.”

ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin takes place this Saturday, 3 December. The lead card will be broadcast live on Disney+ Hotstar and Star Sports Select 2 at 6:30 a.m. India Standard Time (IST). The main card will follow on Disney+ Hotstar and Star Sports Select 2 at 8:30 a.m. IST.


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