3 Opponents Who Could Be Next For Heavyweight Star Amir Aliakbari

Amir Aliakbari celebrates his win at ONE 164

Iranian wrestling standout Amir Aliakbari is rapidly shooting up ONE Championship’s heavyweight MMA division.

Last Saturday in Manila, the 34-year-old demolished former divisional king Brandon Vera at ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks, sending the Filipino legend into retirement. 

That sensational performance was Aliakbari’s second consecutive stoppage victory, and it should earn him another high-profile matchup in his next outing.

As the Iranian looks to make a World Title run, let’s look at three potential opponents for his next bout.

#1 Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida

Aliakbari could square off with surging submission specialist Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida in an intriguing clash of wrestling vs. BJJ.

With his undefeated MMA record, 100 percent finishing rate in the sport, and an incredible 17 BJJ World Titles before making the switch, Almeida might be the fastest-rising heavyweight on the planet.

But how would “Buchecha” and his world-class ground game match up with Aliakbari and his Greco-Roman Wrestling World Championship pedigree? That burning question would make this fight especially compelling.

Moreover, the bout makes sense in terms of the heavyweight division’s pecking order.

As both men find themselves on the cusp of a shot at 26 pounds of gold, this showdown of top-tier grapplers could decide the next World Title challenger.

#2 ‘Reug Reug’ Oumar Kane

Aliakbari wasn’t the only heavyweight MMA star to score a massive win over the weekend. 

At ONE on Prime Video 5 on Friday, Senegalese Wrestling Champion “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane displayed a patient yet highly effective fight IQ throughout his three-round battering of previously undefeated Jasur Mirzamukhamedov.

Kane would be a fine foe for the Iranian, and their meeting would feature two colossal, ultra-powerful competitors.

Like Aliakbari, the Senegalese superstar is riding a two-fight winning streak, positioning himself for another high-stakes showdown. 

“Reug Reug” versus Aliakbari is a battle that would have fireworks written all over it, as they are two of the heavyweight division’s most powerful punchers, both with elite wrestling and takedown abilities.

#3 Anatoly ‘Sladkiy’ Malykhin

If he wants to aim even higher for his next fight, the AAA Team representative could look forward to a World Title challenge of ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin. It would be a rematch of their 2021 contest that Malykhin won via first-round knockout.

The Russian then made history at ONE on Prime Video 5, scoring one of 2022’s best KOs against Reinier de Ridder to capture the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title and earn himself champ-champ status.

If “Sladkiy” is unable to secure a World Title unification bout with reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan Bhullar in the near future, Aliakbari could be next to vie for heavyweight gold.

Given the Iranian’s stellar back-to-back performances and continued evolution, it seems likely that he’d fare much better in a rematch with Malykhin – this time, with much more on the line.

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