The Stars Predict Bhullar Vs. Malykhin Heavyweight World Title Unification Bout At ONE Friday Fights 22

Anatoly Malykhin Arjan Bhullar ONE Friday Fights 22 Faceoffs

After many months of anticipation and several false starts, the biggest heavyweight mixed martial arts showdown in ONE Championship history is set to go down this Friday, June 23.

At ONE Friday Fights 22, reigning divisional king Arjan “Singh” Bhullar and interim titleholder Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykin will finally square off in a massive ONE Heavyweight MMA World Championship unification bout live in Asia primetime.

Bhullar first claimed his gold by dethroning the division’s inaugural World Champion, Brandon Vera, via TKO in May 2021.

The Indian-Canadian powerhouse is a former Commonwealth Games Wrestling Gold Medalist and owns a stellar 11-1 record since transitioning to mixed martial arts. He’s also the first MMA World Champion of Indian descent.

Meanwhile, Malykhin is a former European Grappling Champion who sports a flawless 12-0 MMA record with a 100 percent finishing rate and also holds the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title.

The Russian destroyer has been on a rampage since debuting in ONE, knocking out four straight opponents while showcasing a fearsome stand-up game. He’s continued to target this unification clash with Bhullar ever since winning the interim heavyweight belt with a stoppage of Kirill Grishenko in February 2022.

It’s been a long time coming for these heated rivals, who’ve exchanged barbs on social media and in interviews over the past two years.

Now, they will throw down at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand – and their fellow ONE Championship superstars will be watching closely.

With the action less than 24 hours away and the undisputed World Champion set to emerge, several of those ONE athletes offered their predictions for this colossal contest:

Reinier de Ridder

“It’s a very exciting fight. It’s hard to predict because Bhullar’s been out for over two years, so it’s hard to say where he’s at. He’s getting up there in age. He’s 37.

“And as we saw in our fight, Malykhin hits very hard. He’s very dangerous. So, if I had to put money on it, I’d say Malykhin wins it pretty quickly. But Bhullar is not easy to count out – we don’t really know where he’s at. He’s been out of action for so long.

“If I had to make a guess, I’d say second-round TKO by Malykhin.”

Demetrious Johnson

“Anatoly. He’s going to f*** him up.”

Jhanlo Sangiao

“It’s gonna be very tight. Malykhin is very explosive, but we can’t overlook the things that Arjan Bhullar can do inside the ring. If I have to call it, I’d say Malykhin takes it. 

“I believe that Malykhin’s ability to defend in the wrestling department will be key. He’s also quick and explosive for a heavyweight. He also has power in those hands, and that’s why I’m taking him.”

‘Mini T’ Danial Williams

“I haven’t seen too much of Bhullar, to be honest … but I’m going to go with Malykhin to get it done in one. He negates any wrestling and catches [Bhullar] with a left hook.”

Martin Nguyen

“I think Arjan Bhullar gets it done. I feel that Arjan is more professional. He’s got a high fight IQ.

“But needless to say, the fight can be done in one punch when it comes to Malykhin. I feel that all these guys that Arjan has fought have been big punchers, big strikers, and have knockout power just from being in the heavyweight division.”

“The boxing of Malykhin is the game-changer, but I feel that Arjan can utilize his wrestling and wear him out completely. It’s going to be hard to down someone like Malykhin, who’s a wrestler himself, even though he’s been knocking people out. But if [Bhullar] can take him down and grind him out, take him to the later rounds, and see if he breaks or not, I feel that that’s the key to victory for Arjan. I think he gets it done.”

“Everyone’s doubting him because of how much of a tear Malykhin has been on. But I see Arjan’s credentials, and I see that when it comes to the actual fights and in the down and dirty parts, he’s the one that’s controlling it.”

“I feel that it’s going to be a five-rounder, there’s going to be big shots, and people are going to get rocked, but I feel like Arjan is going to grind this one out.”

Rade Opacic

“I’ve seen the Russian, Anatoly. He was at my last fight, and I saw that he was pumped and happy, so he looks ready to me. I would give my prediction to him. I think he will beat [Bhullar] because he strikes and he’s also good on the ground, so I think he will win the fight.”

Kevin Belingon

“I firmly believe that Anatoly Malykhin possesses the knockout power to bring down a formidable opponent like Arjan Bhullar. When those fists connect, it’s either you remain standing or you lay flat on your back. That’s how dangerous Malykhin is.”

Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida

“Arjan’s last fight was against Brandon Vera, and for a professional fighter to be inactive for so long, I think that’s a huge disadvantage. So I think right now, Anatoly has a bigger advantage because he kept himself so active. And fighting after fighting and just winning. The guy is still undefeated.

“They have really similar games because they are really good wrestlers and they have really good hands. So they have fast hands. I think Anatoly hits harder, but Arjan is really technical. He has a really good jab, and he controls the distance really well. So I don’t know if they’re going to shoot [for takedowns].

“In my opinion, it’s going to be 100 percent a brawl. No shooting because nobody wants to waste energy and somebody gets defended. So I think it’s going to be like a boxing match. A boxing fight. And as I said, because of the advantage of [staying active], think Anatoly has the advantage.”

Joshua Pacio

“Anatoly Malykhin certainly has the momentum in his favor. His remarkable activity throughout 2022 has been awe-inspiring – he won two World Titles in two different weight classes.

“This promises to be a thrilling clash between two outstanding heavyweights, but I think Malykhin’s recent accomplishments tip the scales in his favor.”

Fans can watch ONE Friday Fights 22 beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. ICT

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