The ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion is helping Vitaly Bigdash train for his ONE Middleweight World Title clash with reigning king Reinier de Ridder on July 22, and he knows the challenger is a serious threat to claim the gold.
Above all, “Sladkiy” is impressed with Bidgash’s strength and speed now that he’s gotten a firsthand look at his countryman’s well-rounded skill set.
“Vitaly came to us to Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand to finish his preparation for the fight with De Ridder. I personally work with him daily. He is a very tough guy. He has good wrestling. He is very fast with very powerful and fast strikes.”
With ONE 159 fast approaching, Malykhin feels confident that his new training partner can hand “The Dutch Knight” his first career loss.
It won’t be easy, as De Ridder is a two-weight king who owns a 15-0 MMA record.
But while the defending titleholder recently called Bigdash “predictable,” Sladkiy” sees this matchup from an opposite perspective.
“I think Vitaly will confidently win this fight. He won’t give in to [De Ridder’s] wrestling, will strike well, will defend the takedown well, and will land his new ONE Championship belt. And I think he will grab a bonus as well.
“Watch all Vitaly’s fights, they are very spectacular, almost all ending with a knockout. Vitaly always hunts for a good knockout. As for De Ridder, I don’t think we’ll see anything new. He will show an unspectacular fight trying to take to the ground and bind up. Our hope is that Vitaly will drop him beautifully.”
Anatoly Malykhin Plans To Take Reinier De Ridder’s Light Heavyweight Crown
ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion Reinier de Ridder has publicly stated that he would like to challenge for heavyeight gold and become an unprecedented three-division king.
For now, De Ridder will defend his middleweight throne in the main event of ONE 159, while ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin will face ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan Bhullar to unify their belts.
But no matter how De Ridder’s matchup with Vitaly Bigdash plays out on July 22, Malykhin thinks “The Dutch Knight” would regret an attempt to grab the heavyweight belt.
“[De Ridder] is a good fighter, of course, since he holds two belts and has zero [losses on his] record. He is worthy of respect. He has decent wrestling. He strikes very badly and he is a very slow, protracted fighter. Compared to me, I think I will drop him down in seven minutes, maximum.
“It would be a big mistake for him to move a category up. He should expect very big trouble. My wrestling is on the highest level, plus my boxing is on a different level. I think he shouldn’t do that.”
Still, Malykhin won’t rule out facing De Ridder in the future.
But instead of defending his heavyweight gold, the Russian would rather drop down to light heavyweight and challenge the Combat Brothers star.
In fact, he might even attempt to go one step further and aim for his own three-division supremecy in the future.
“After I become the [undisputed] heavyweight champion, I will definitely go down to his weight, since I’m not a tall heavyweight, and I will take one of [De Ridder’s] belts and become a double-champion.
“And who knows, maybe even a triple one? I would go down one [division] more and leave him with nothing at all.”