Reinier De Ridder Vs. Anatoly Malykhin: 4 Keys To World Title Victory At ONE On Prime Video 5

Reinier De Ridder vs. Anatoly Malykhin

Anatoly Malykhin and Reinier de Ridder are ready to square off in one of the most anticipated bouts of the year this Friday, December 2.

ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Malykhin is dropping down to challenge “The Dutch Knight” for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 5, and both men will bring unbeaten MMA records into the Circle.

With neither man ever tasting defeat, there’s no blueprint to gain the upper hand in this World Champion vs. World Champion clash – but somebody’s 0 has got to go.

Here are some of the biggest keys to victory for each competitor in this colossal U.S. primetime battle at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. 

#1 Malykhin Keeping It Standing

Though he originally came from a wrestling background, Malykhin is now a dedicated striking convert whose new favorite pastime is slinging his fists around like wrecking balls.

“Sladkiy” has added technical boxing prowess to his explosiveness with incredible results, and that will be his greatest chance to secure a World Title win in Manila. 

With concussive power in both his overhand right and left hook, he only needs to get through once to make a significant impact on the fight.

However, the Russian does have a tendency to lunge in against taller opponents, and he’s 5 inches shorter than De Ridder. If he overcommits against the Dutchman, he could find himself tied up.

That means Malykhin’s footwork and patience will be crucial. He has five rounds to find a home for a haymaker, and if he can cut off the Circle, feint, and open up gaps, then he has a good chance of connecting.

#2 De Ridder’s Clinch Game

“The Dutch Knight’s” single- and double-leg takedowns have been extremely effective in ONE, but this time, he’ll be facing a naturally heavier man who’s wrestled since childhood.

Successfully shooting for the legs against a shorter, bulkier wrestler is likely off the table, but De Ridder could put his judo black belt skills to good use and try to clinch up with “Sladkiy” to work from there. 

The two-division ONE World Champion is strong in close and uses his height well to control his opponents against the fence, where he can work for trips or body locks to get the match to the canvas.

Even if De Ridder struggles to get the takedown, it would take him out of Malykhin’s firing line and allow him to try to wear down the Russian with knees. 

One wrong move or fatigued mistake, and the “The Dutch Knight” can score his takedown or quickly attach himself to his rival’s back in an instant.

#3 Malykhin’s Ground-And-Pound

Although it might not be his Plan A, all is not lost for Malykhin if he finds himself clinched up with the Dutch star.

The 11-0 heavyweight spent the early part of his MMA career rag-dolling opponents and crushing them on the ground, and it’s something he can still do if he needs to. 

“Sladkiy” has solid takedowns, and his ground-and-pound is ferocious. He could end up in a good spot if he can counter De Ridder’s attempts at getting the match to the canvas or use the momentum behind his charging overhand right.

The 34-year-old blasted through Alexandre Machado in his ONE debut, stopping him with strikes on the ground, and in his last outing for the interim heavyweight gold, he dominated Kirill Grishenko from top position.

Though it’s unlikely he will add to his submission tally against BJJ black belt De Ridder, using his controlling top game is definitely an option if necessary.

#4 De Ridder’s Deadly Submissions

Malykhin has good awareness on the ground, but if the action does hit the canvas, it’s still going to be in De Ridder’s wheelhouse.

The 32-year-old ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion is 16-0 in MMA, and 12 of those victories have come via submission.

Meanwhile, “Sladkiy” has not been tested from his back in ONE, and De Ridder has a strong guard-passing game to really pile on the pressure if he manages to get on top.

With an ingrained propensity to wrestle, Malykhin may opt to turtle in hopes of escaping trouble on the floor, but De Ridder loves to take the back – and he is almost immovable once he gets there. 

Getting on top won’t be easy for De Ridder, but getting up will be even harder for Malykhin if he does end up underneath the grappling-savvy Dutchman. 

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