Anatoly Malykhin Thinks Mansur Malachiev And Ilya Freymanov Will Become World Champions Soon

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

Russian superstar Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin knows what it takes to become a ONE World Champion, and he saw that same potential in two of his compatriots at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video.

The reigning ONE Light Heavyweight and Interim Heavyweight World Champion watched as Mansur Malachiev and Ilya Freymanov each earned huge MMA victories last Friday, and he expects both of them to challenge for gold in the near future.

Malachiev was the first to compete at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, and the debuting strawweight pushed his professional record to 11-0 with a first-round submission victory over top striker Jeremy Miado.

Afterward, “Sladkiy” praised the dominant performance and thinks it elevated the rising star straight into the division’s World Title mix.

He told ONEFC.com:

“It was a wonderful fight! Once again, Malachiev proved that Dagestan wrestling carries a lot of weight and everyone should take it seriously. It was a great debut. What more do you need?

“I believe he will fight for the belt soon. He was able to put the strawweight division on notice. A win is always a great statement.”

Later in the evening, Freymanov followed his impressive debut knockout of former two-division king Martin Nguyen with a first-round submission of Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg.

The #3-ranked featherweight contender hit the canvas early when he ate a powerful right hand from the Mongolian, but he quickly bounced back to put on a clinical display and get the win.

Malykhin said of Freymanov’s back-and-forth battle:

“Ilya is the next champion. He was a little bit too relaxed during the first minute of the bout. But then he came back, won the fight, and took home a US$50,000 bonus.

“He was knocked down by his opponent at the beginning of the fight. It was a very dangerous moment, for sure. His strength is his fighting IQ. He is a very smart fighter.

“He has some light injuries, but I think he will be back on track soon, and after one or two more fights, he will fight for the belt.”

Malykhin Salutes Regian Eersel After KO Of Dmitry Menshikov

It wasn’t a perfect night for Russian athletes at ONE Fight Night 11, as Dmitry Menshikov and Artem Belakh both lost in Thailand.

Anatoly Malykhin certainly feels for Menshikov, who got stopped in just 46 seconds while challenging for Regian Eersel’s ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title. At the same time, he gives all the credit to Eersel and believes he’s easily separated himself from everyone else in the weight class.

“Sladkiy” said:

“Regian Eersel proved that ONE is the strongest league in the world, and no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, no one in ONE Championship just gives their belts away. The champion has proven that he’s several heads above everyone else.”

With that said, Malykhin doesn’t think that Menshikov should be too hard on himself, as it was a difficult task to challenge for gold at the top of a blockbuster card.

And while the two-division king thinks the occasion might have overwhelmed his compatriot, he urges him to keep his head up and continue to strive for greatness.

He added:

“Mental state is everything in any fight. Mental strength is one of the main features of a champion. The main fight puts a lot of weight on the fighter’s shoulders – people expect you to put on a show, the promotion expects a lot from you, and not many people can handle it.

“[Menshikov] had to warm himself up first – take some lower ranking fights, and then go and fight for the belt. He was nervous. You could see that he couldn’t handle his nerves.

“But don’t give up! All opponents, no matter how scary the masks they might wear, are just humans.”

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