‘Arjan Is The Smarter Fighter’ – Anatoly Malykhin Picks Bhullar To Beat Aliakbari At ONE 166: Qatar

Arjan Bhullar Anatoly Malykhin ONE Friday Fights 22 50

Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin is focused on making history at ONE 166: Qatar, but he always keeps an eye on his biggest rivals.

So, while the unbeaten Russian juggernaut is attempting to become the first three-division MMA World Champion when he challenges Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder for the ONE Middleweight MMA World Title this Friday, there’s another matchup on the card that piques in interest.

Specifically, Arjan “Singh” Bhullar and Amir Aliakbari will square off in a heavyweight MMA bout that could determine the next World Title challenger.

And as the division’s reigning king – along with holding the light heavyweight MMA belt – Malykhin is interested to see how things play out inside the Lusail Sports Arena. 

“Sladkiy” spoke to onefc.com about the matchup between Bhullar and Aliakbari:

“It’s a great fight. It’s a good test for both. I don’t think they have ever had an opponent at the top of their game. This fight will show what they are really worth.” 

Malykhin has plenty of insight into this fight given that he’s faced both men in the past. 

He knocked out Aliakbari in 2021 and then finished Bhullar in their ONE Heavyweight MMA World Title unification bout last year, so he’s well acquainted with their respective skill sets. 

And while “Sladkiy” knows the Iranian is powerful, he thinks Bhullar is the more intelligent competitor – and he views that as the biggest key to victory:

“I think Arjan will win. He is the smarter fighter. Amir on the other hand is a one-round fighter. Amir is very dangerous in the first round. He can take you down, and he can hit hard, but from the second round on, he runs out of energy quickly, which he can’t handle mentally.  

“In my opinion, Arjan will survive the first round. He will be cautious. And then he’s going to win this fight on the scorecards.  

“Of course, Arjan’s not going to knock out Aliakbari. He doesn’t have that kind of knockout power, but I think he’s going to outwork him. Arjan is the smarter fighter. More cunning.” 

Malykhin: ‘I’m Ready To Fight Anybody’

Both Arjan Bhullar and Amir Aliakbari feel like they deserve a rematch with Anatoly Malykhin if they earn the victory at ONE 166: Qatar this Friday, March 1.

Bhullar is a former ruler of the heavyweight MMA division, while Aliakbari has amassed three consecutive stoppage wins to rocket his way into the upper echelon.  

Still, despite his interest in their contest, Anatoly Malykhin isn’t worried about who will be next after his ONE Middleweight MMA World Title challenge against Reinier de Ridder.  

Above all, the Russian knockout artist feels ready to battle any opponent at any time:

“I don’t worry about [whether they deserve to fight for the ONE Heavyweight MMA World Title next]. I fight every opponent I can.  

“There are matchmakers who make the cards. They know what’s best for ONE. They have more experience, they have a better view of the situation, and they have more experience in this business than I do. 

“I’m ready to fight anybody. There’s no difference to me. I’m ready to fight any two of these guys at the same time on the same night.” 

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