Anatoly Malykhin To Challenge Reinier De Ridder For Middleweight MMA Word Title In Rematch At ONE 166: Qatar
Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin already has the ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight MMA World Titles in his possession, and soon, he’ll have a chance to make history.
On Friday, March 1, the Russian superstar will move down a weight class again and attempt to become the first three-division MMA World Champion at Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar.
In the main event of ONE 166: Qatar, Malykhin will challenge ONE Middleweight MMA World Champion Reinier de Ridder – the man he beat for the light heavyweight crown last year – in a high-stakes rematch for the Dutchman’s gold.
These mixed martial artists first met at ONE Fight Night 5 in December 2022.
De Ridder entered that ONE Light Heavyweight MMA World Title defense as an undefeated two-division king, while the Russian challenger already held the interim heavyweight MMA belt.
Unlike anyone before him, Malykhin brilliantly defended takedowns from the lanky grappler and utilized his heavy boxing repertoire to knock out the Dutchman in the first round.
Not only did “Sladkiy” hand De Ridder his first professional loss, but the victory also gave him the light heavyweight MMA crown and made him a two-division World Champion.
Each man has taken a very different path since that encounter.
De Ridder continued to travel across the United States to train with the world’s best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches and athletes, and he even put his skills to the test against Tye Ruotolo in a submission grappling super-fight last May.
Meanwhile, Malykhin finally squared off against heated rival and then-ONE Heavyweight MMA World Champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar in a unification match last June.
The Russian would ultimately overwhelm the Canadian-Indian juggernaut and finish him via third-round TKO to emerge as the undisputed heavyweight MMA king.
Now, all roads lead to the main event of ONE 166: Qatar, and each man has everything to fight for.
De Ridder has a chance to even the score, hand Malykhin his first professional loss, and prove he is the best middleweight mixed martial artist on the planet today.
But for Malykhin, history is calling. If he defeats the Dutchman one more time, “Sladkiy” would become the first three-division World Champion in MMA.
Stay tuned to onefc.com for more news about ONE 166: Qatar.