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Anatoly Malykhin To fight Reinier De Ridder For Middleweight At ONE 166

LockerRoom Team
31 December 2023

Anatoly "Sladkiy" Malykhin, the holder of the ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight MMA World Titles, is poised to etch his name in history by vying for a third divisional championship.

Scheduled for Friday, March 1, at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar, the Russian sensation will make a daring move down another weight class in a bid to secure the ONE Middleweight MMA World Championship. This high-stakes endeavor places Malykhin in a rematch against Reinier de Ridder, the reigning champion whom he defeated to claim the light heavyweight title in the previous year's encounter at ONE Fight Night 5 in December 2022.

In that historic bout, Malykhin thwarted De Ridder's takedown attempts with strategic brilliance and showcased his formidable boxing skills, delivering a knockout in the first round. This victory not only handed De Ridder his first professional loss but also bestowed upon Malykhin the light heavyweight MMA crown, making him a two-division World Champion.

Since their initial clash, both fighters have charted distinct paths. De Ridder has traversed the United States, honing his skills with elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches and athletes. He even tested his prowess in a submission grappling super-fight against Tye Ruotolo last May. On the other hand, Malykhin faced his fierce rival, Arjan "Singh" Bhullar, in a unification match for the ONE Heavyweight MMA World Championship in June, ultimately overpowering the Canadian-Indian champion with a third-round TKO to emerge as the undisputed heavyweight king.

The stage is set for a riveting showdown at ONE 166: Qatar, where both fighters have much at stake. De Ridder aims to level the playing field, hand Malykhin his first professional defeat, and assert his dominance as the premier middleweight mixed martial artist. Meanwhile, for Malykhin, the opportunity to make history beckons. A triumph over De Ridder would elevate him to the status of the first three-division World Champion in MMA, adding another remarkable chapter to his already illustrious career.

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