Malykhin ‘Grateful’ For Heavyweight World Title Shot Against Bhullar
Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin is officially one step away from achieving his dream.
This past Friday, the undefeated Russian juggernaut knocked out Iranian superstar Amir Aliakbari in the first round of their heavyweight mixed martial arts clash at ONE: REVOLUTION in Singapore.
As a result, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong awarded Malykhin the next shot at Arjan “Singh” Bhullar’s ONE Heavyweight World Title.
“I think I’m way faster and I’m way stronger than Arjan Bhullar,” Malykhin said backstage after his victory.
“You know, I’m very grateful that ONE Championship keeps giving me fights, and I keep going towards my title shot.”
Malykhin certainly looked spectacular throughout Friday’s bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
He launched massive punches from the opening bell and rocked Aliakbari with an overhand right nearly a minute into the contest. The brash Iranian recovered, but “Sladkiy” soon finished the job with an earth-shattering left hook to the jaw.
The Russian is thrilled with his performance, and he credits his boxing trainer at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, with sharpening his skills and elevating his mindset.
“Johnny [Hutchinson], my boxing coach, he motivates me so much,” the 33-year-old says. “He always says, ‘You are a white [Mike] Tyson. You will knock out people easily.’ That kind of gives me confidence in that sense.”
The highlight-reel KO pushed Malykhin’s MMA record to 10-0 and kept his perfect 100 percent finishing rate intact.
Now, following a pair of decisive first-round victories over Aliakbari and former ONE World Title challenger Alexandre “Bebezao” Machado, “Sladkiy” has earned the right to challenge the heavyweight king.
A date with Bhullar hasn’t been set yet, but Malykhin isn’t concerned about the timing. He knows the matchup will come to fruition soon enough, and when it does, he’ll be more than ready.
“I’ve been observing and watching ONE Championship for a really long time,” the Kemerovo native adds.
“When I got the contract [to fight for ONE], I was super happy to get this rolling. The Russian audience is huge, and we are in love with MMA. I feel very responsible, and I’m very proud to represent Russia.
“One day, I hope I can get the title and defend this title for a very long time. The ONE Championship title is my dream, and I believe dreams can come true.”
Read more: The Best Pictures From ONE: REVOLUTION