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Anatoly Malykhin Expects Same Knockout Result Against De Ridder At ONE 166

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Anatoly Malykhin has not only ascended to the top of ONE Championship since his arrival on the scene but has become one of the best in the entire sport. The Russian has already claimed the ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight World Titles. On Friday, March 1st, he tries to do something no one has ever done — become a three-division World Champion.

Anatoly Malykhin Confident Ahead of Title Tilt at ONE 166

At ONE 166: Qatar, Malykhin meets Reinier De Ridder for the ONE Middleweight World Championship. It will be the second meeting between the two after Malykhin dethroned De Ridder for the light heavyweight gold last year. Unsurprisingly, “Sladkiy” is beaming with confidence ahead of his next title opportunity.

“My everyday life looks perfect! I wake up with my family by my side – my son, my wife. I know the reason for getting up every day, I am motivated and charged! And that’s how every week goes. I spend a lot of time with my family, but I also have have to spend a lot of time with my coach Johnny – we do a lot of training! But basically, it’s just the same as my normal life – I love training, I love living, I love spending a lot of time with my family,” Malykhin told ONE.

The first meeting ended promptly with Malykhin’s power crushing De Ridder. The 36-year-old expects the talented Dutchman to try to entangle him with his long limbs. However, Malykhin has been focusing on his wrestling so that he can keep the action on the feet or defend should the match hit the canvas.

“This time, we focused on wrestling; I’m pretty sure De Ridder will try to wrestle with me. We worked a lot on freestyle wrestling, so it will be hard to take me down, and we also worked on jiu-jitsu,” the unbeaten Russian said.

Much of the talk surrounding this main event clash has been about Malykhin’s drop to middleweight. He looked outstanding during a recent interview at ONE Friday Fights 53, but he still has to hit the scale to prove he can hit the mark. That is why part of his new training regime has been hitting the pool for added cardio.

Prepared to go one round or five rounds, “Sladkiy” believes the most challenging part of his game is his ability to adapt. The undefeated Russian enters each match, willing to take whatever is given to him. Regardless, he does not expect any different result other than getting his hand raised and claiming his third World Title.

“The scary thing for all my opponents is that I don’t have a plan for any fight at all. I just go out there and do what I love doing and enjoy it. When we get in the cage with De Ridder, we’ll see in the first scrap what De Ridder can do at 93 kilograms. I think it’s going to be the same as last time,” Malykhin explained.

Holding three belts for three separate divisions will add another burden to his broad shoulders. But Malykhin takes it all in stride. If he picks up the win in Qatar, Malykhin is prepared to defend all three of his belts against whoever steps up to the plate.

“I don’t worry about that. I fight every opponent I can. There are matchmakers who make the cards. They know what’s best for ONE. They have more experience, they have a better view of the situation, they have more experience in this business than I do. And I’m ready to fight anybody. There’s no difference to me. I’m ready to fight any two of these guys at the same time on the same night,” Malykhin said.

ONE 166 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, March 1st. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST. The event is free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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