Malykhin Vs. Grishenko: 4 Keys To Heavyweight World Title Victory

Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko headline ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE

Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko are just days away from going to war for the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Championship.

It’s a well-matched bout between two unbeaten behemoths, and fans can expect an epic co-main event clash at ONE: BAD BLOOD this Friday, 11 February. 

Either man could leave the Singapore Indoor Stadium with ONE gold on their shoulder, and the result will depend on who executes their game plan to perfection.

With that in mind, let’s break down the keys to victory for both mixed martial artists in this World Title showdown.

#1 Malykhin’s Powerful Punches

While he started out as a wrestler, “Sladkiy” showcased his lethal punching power with an incredible knockout of Amir Aliakbari last time out, and he’s eager to score another stand-up finish.

He’s still refining his boxing skills, but the 34-year-old has made impressive strides in that area, and the force he generates is enough to pose a threat against any opponent.

The 180-centimeter Russian throws solid straight punches that can help him close the distance against the 193-centimeter Grishenko. And once he’s in close, his most concussive strikes will come to the fore.

Specifically, Malykhin owns a sledgehammer of a left hook and a monstrous overhand right, both of which will make an appearance when he’s in range. 

He’ll be swinging for the fences with his newfound confidence on the feet, and he only needs one devastating punch to dramatically change the course of this bout.

#2 Grishenko’s Wide-Ranging Arsenal

Grishenko will have to fend off the lunging attacks of his shorter foe and keep him guessing with the wide array of tools he owns in his kickboxing arsenal.

The Belarusian is a patient striker who won’t be afraid of letting “Sladkiy” come to him. He stays light on his feet and uses his jab wisely to push opponents back.

On Friday, Grishsenko will be waiting for Malykhin to overcommit with his powerful salvos. If that happens, he’ll use the opportunity to throw his accurate counters – mostly a sharp right hand that is very effective at finding gaps.

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Minsk resident can also fire off some of his more unique weapons – including dangerous spinning attacks – which Malykhin will be less familiar with.

If Grishenko can make the Russian second-guess his rushes, he’ll have more time to work and score from the outside.

#3 The Fight For Clinch Supremacy

Kirill Grishenko defeats Dustin Joynson by unanimous decision at ONE: NEXTGEN.

While Malykhin is eager to stand and trade, both combatants come from high-level wrestling backgrounds, which is bound to have a huge impact on this bout.

They’ve each found success looking for takedowns off the Circle Wall, so this will be the first key battleground in the grappling game.

When Malykhin is the one rushing to the fence, he likes to drop his level, scoop his opponent up, and slam them with high-amplitude double-legs.

Greco-Roman wrestler Grishenko will have to use his strong upper body to keep “Sladkiy” away from his hips, and if he does, he’ll have a chance to dictate the position.

The Belarusian is powerful when pressing his opposite number to the Circle Wall. He’s active with strikes and utilizes plenty of knees, and even his spinning elbows, when in close.

These two heavyweight goliaths are immensely strong in the clinch, so the difference between success and failure could come down to a battle of wills.

#4 Taking Top Position

MMA Fight: Anatoly Malykhin fights Alexandre Machado at ONE: FISTS OF FURY II

If either man can drag things to the canvas, their opponent will be in big trouble.

Most of Malykhin’s finishes have come from his aggressive top game, where he combines ground-and-pound with the threat of a submission. The Golden Team athlete works quickly with constant streams of offense while trying to advance his position.

Likewise, Grishenko works at a high rate and is difficult to shift when he gets the upper hand on the ground. The MGC and M2G representative dominated Canadian giant Dustin Joynson when he put his back to the mat and looked as if he’d never let him back up.

Crucially, both unbeaten mixed martial artists are used to being on top and dishing out the punishment, while neither has been tested much when the tables are turned.

How they’ll react if that happens on Friday will be a huge factor, but the man on top would gain a massive advantage in the fight for gold.

Read more: 5 Reasons To Watch ONE: BAD BLOOD

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