Reliving Two-Division King Anatoly Malykhin’s Dominant Run In ONE Championship

Anatoly Malykhin’s reactions after his match against Reinier de Ridder at ONE on Prime Video 5

Reigning ONE Light Heavyweight and Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin has looked nothing short of unstoppable since joining the world’s largest martial arts organization.

This Friday, June 23, the man known as “Sladkiy” will square off with reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan Bhullar in a long-awaited World Title unification bout at ONE Friday Fights 22.

Set to go down at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, the epic showdown will be Malykhin’s chance at undisputed heavyweight gold – and yet another opportunity to extend his perfect professional MMA record and 100 percent finishing rate.

Before his clash with Bhullar in Asia primetime, we look back at the 35-year-old’s truly dominant run in ONE Championship.

A Brutal Debut Against Machado

The unbeaten Russian made his first promotional appearance in March 2021 at ONE: FISTS OF FURY II and needed less than one round to send a powerful message to the rest of the heavyweight MMA division.

Matched against a dangerous ground specialist in Alexandre Machado, Malykhin showed no signs of nerves while competing for the first time under ONE’s bright lights.

After defending the Brazilian’s early takedown attempt, “Sladkiy” quickly secured a crucifix position, where he mercilessly hammered his foe with ground strikes to bring about the TKO finish in just three-and-a-half minutes.

While Malykhin had arrived in ONE as a highly touted wrestler, one thing was immediately clear – he packs serious, concussive power in his hands.

Demolishes Aliakbari’s Hype Train

Six months later at ONE: REVOLUTION, Malykhin returned to take on Iranian fan favorite Amir Aliakbari, who was considered perhaps the division’s most dangerous World Title threat.

Although he gave up a serious size advantage, Malykhin quickly proved to be the faster, more skilled striker, as he picked apart his opponent with piercing jabs and crisp combinations.

Midway through the opening round, a massive overhand right put Aliakbari on the canvas. From there, the Russian swarmed with punishing strikes to earn the TKO victory, this time in less than three minutes.

Captures Interim Belt Against Grishenko

Those first-round finishes earned the surging contender a ONE Interim Heavyweight World Title shot against towering Belarusian knockout artist Kirill Grishenko in February 2022 at ONE: BAD BLOOD.

In an incredible showcase of boxing power and speed, Malykhin consistently found a home for his leaping left hooks and blazing-fast right hands, eventually unloading a thunderous blow in the second round that sent Grishenko melting to the canvas, unconscious and unable to continue.

In just three promotional fights, “Sladkiy” had secured 26 pounds of gold while firmly establishing himself as one of the most terrifying punchers in all of combat sports.

Knocks Out De Ridder To Claim Light Heavyweight Gold

Rather than waiting for Bhullar to return, Malykhin chose to chase another belt and challenged Reinier de Ridder for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title last December at ONE on Prime Video 5.

Well-aware of the Dutch megastar’s formidable ground game, the Golden Team representative displayed impenetrable takedown defense early before unleashing one of the most vicious boxing attacks ever seen in the Circle.

With less than a minute remaining in the first frame – after working his foe over with a mixture of rib-crunching body shots and massive, looping hooks to the head – Malykhin’s right hand finally put De Ridder down and out.

The knockout extended the Russian’s perfect finishing streak (12), handed De Ridder his first defeat in 17 professional fights, and most importantly, gave him the rare status of a two-division ONE World Champion.

Up next for Malykhin ­– the chance to become an undisputed king in two weight classes.

More in Features

Luke Lessei Eddie Abasolo ONE Fight Night 19 6
Reinier de Ridder Anatoly Malykhin ONE 166 14
Kongthoranee Sor Sommai Jaosuayai Sor Dechapan ONE Friday Fights 84
Tye Ruotolo Izaak Michell ONE Fight Night 21 45
Jimmy Vienot walks to the Circle
Luke Lessei Eddie Abasolo ONE Fight Night 19 29
Nong O Hama Nico Carrillo ONE Friday Fights 46 2
Bampara Kouyate Shakir Al Tekreeti ONE Fight Night 15 45
Jozef_Chen hero 1200x1165
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 66
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Denis Puric ONE 167 142
Rodtang Jitmuangnon