‘The Winner Will Deserve A Title Shot’ – Amir Aliakbari Determined To Keep Rising Against Arjan Bhullar

Amir Aliakbari Dustin Joynson ONE Fight Night 12 44

Amir Aliakbari wants to prove he is worthy of a ONE Heavyweight MMA World Title challenge by claiming his biggest scalp to date at ONE 166: Qatar.  

This Friday, March 1, the Iranian superstar will face former divisional king Arjan “Singh” Bhullar at the Lusail Sports Arena, and he thinks another victory would put him within touching distance of gold.

After reversing his fortunes with three consecutive stoppage wins, Aliakbari plans to add a fourth against “Singh” and book a World Title shot against old foe Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin.

The 36-year-old told onefc.com:

“I am very excited for this match and cannot wait for it. I’ve trained very hard, and I believe I’m ready for the fight. 

“This is my biggest fight in ONE so far. We were both wrestlers and have a long history in the sport. I believe it will be an excellent fight. 

“I believe that the winner will deserve a title shot against the ONE Heavyweight MMA World Champion.” 

Bhullar won the divisional belt back in 2021 when he dethroned Brandon “The Truth” Vera, but Malykhin took it from him when he unified the World Titles last June.  

For his part, Aliakbari acknowledges that his upcoming opponent is strong. But after analyzing the Canadian-Indian’s previous battles, he sees some possible weaknesses that could be exploited.

The Tehran native offered: 

“I would say that Bhullar’s physical abilities are his biggest source of strength. And that may make it difficult for me to punch him. But I also think that if he cannot use his wrestling, he has a limited skill set and cannot do much. 

“I will finish the match with a win if God wills.” 

Amir Aliakbari Wants To Be Inspiration For The Middle East 

A potential World Title shot is the biggest motivation for Amir Aliakbari at ONE 166, but he’s also spurred on by the chance to compete in the Middle East for the first time in his MMA career.  

ONE Championship hasn’t hosted a show in the region since ONE: REIGN OF CHAMPIONS took place in Dubai in 2014, and this stacked card is the promotion’s debut in Qatar.  

As a local from neighboring Iran just across the Persian Gulf, Aliakbari sees this as a chance for the world’s largest martial arts organization to kick-start something special – maybe even a venture into his homeland in the future. 

The former UWW Greco-Roman Wrestling World Champion said: 

“I am very happy to be part of this event and excited to fight in Qatar. 

“Certainly, such an event happening in the Middle East contributes to the development of martial arts in the region. Bringing ONE Championship to the region will definitely boost combat sports, and I really hope that ONE Championship one day comes to Iran.” 

ONE’s presence in the Middle East will be massive for the region’s burgeoning martial artists, and Aliakbari also views himself as a potential figurehead. 

After back-to-back losses at the start of his career in the organization, the AAA Team representative has taken out three tough opponents in a row, and he wants to show his compatriots and neighbors what can be achieved with enough dedication. 

Wanting to share his story, Aliakbari added: 

“After my victory, I will show people the way, and I will guide them. I will show that my path to success, after relying on God Almighty and trusting in Him, was based on discipline in training, perseverance after every failure, and working hard to come back stronger every time.” 

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