Anatoly Malykhin Picks Aliakbari, Gasanov, Khalilov To Win At ONE Fight Night 12

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Despite not competing on the card, Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin has a vested interest in ONE Fight Night 12: Superlek vs. Khalilov on Prime Video.

The reigning ONE Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight World Champion will be in attendance at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium this Friday, July 14, and there are several matchups that he’ll be watching extra closely.

With Malykhin’s potential future opponents in action – as well as some of his friends and teammates – we asked him for candid thoughts on three of the high-profile battles set for Bangkok, Thailand.

Here, the Russian superstar shares his opinions on each of them.

Amir Aliakbari Vs. Dustin Joynson

Amir Aliakbari will face Dustin Joynson in a crucial heavyweight MMA clash.

Malykhin knocked out Aliakbari in September 2021, but since then, the Iranian has posted back-to-back wins over Brandon Vera and Mauro Cerilli, putting him back on course for a potential World Title challenge.

Joynson earned his first ONE win over Hugo Cunha in his last match, and a triumph over Aliakbari would make a massive statement in the division.

However, “Sladkiy” thinks that is very unlikely and expects a clear victory from the former UWW Greco-Roman Wrestling World Champion.

He said:

“Dustin has no wrestling skills at all. I think Aliakbari will take him down and win the fight using his wrestling skills. They’ll stand a little bit. Then, Aliakbari will take him down and finish him on the ground.

“Dustin is an average fighter. He’s a bit old and hasn’t shown any good results. He lost to Kirill Grishenko.”

Aliakbari has made it known that he wants another shot at Malykhin if he earns his third consecutive victory this Friday.

And for his part, the reigning heavyweight king would happily oblige in order to prove he’s the far better competitor.

“Sladkiy” said of Aliakbari:

“I will be at this event, and if he challenges me, I will step in and take that fight. And I’ll show him that he can’t do anything against me. What can he do to a double champion? I’ll just knock him out even faster than I did last time. I’m on a whole different level.

“It means nothing that he beat Brandon Vera, whose best years are already sadly behind him, even though he’s an undisputed legend. Then he beat an Italian guy who’s also on the decline.

“If [ONE Middleweight World Champion] Reinier de Ridder is not ready, I’m ready in September or October to smash him in that ring.”

Shamil Gasanov Vs. Garry Tonon

Malykhin will be supporting a pair of his Russian compatriots this Friday in Bangkok.

In one of those matchups, #5-ranked featherweight MMA contender Shamil Gasanov will face the biggest test of his career against American BJJ icon and #2-ranked contender Garry Tonon.

But despite Tonon’s pedigree and high standing in the division, “Sladkiy” expects Gasanov to extend his flawless 13-0 record with a dominant showing.

He said:

“I think it will be a one-sided fight in Shamil’s favor. Shamil is on another level, wrestling-wise and mentally. So, it’s easy money for Shamil. It will be an easy fight.

“Everything from Shamil is a threat to Garry. Shamil is many times better than Garry in everything. He has great freestyle wrestling and amazing takedowns.

“I think Shamil will finish him before the end of round two.”

Tagir Khalilov Vs. Superlek Kiatmoo9

Finally, Malykhin is looking forward to seeing how another friend and compatriot Tagir Khalilov fares against one of the greatest strikers on the planet in Superlek Kiatmoo9.

Superlek is the reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion and the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender – a ranking he will defend in this main event Muay Thai showdown.

But while “The Kicking Machine” is favored as he continues to chase two-sport supremacy, Khalilov is coming in hot with back-to-back knockout wins over two high-level Thai strikers. And if he can bring that confidence to the ring, Malykhin thinks “Samingpri” could pull off a massive upset.

“Sladkiy” added:

“He needs to believe in himself and go all the way to the end, no matter what Superlek throws at him. Tagir has to fight until the end, and then he will win.

“I wish him well, and I will be rooting for him.”

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