With ONE 159: De Ridder vs Bigdash looming around the corner, ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin has offered his prediction for the highly-anticipated main event.
Two-division ONE world champion ‘The Dutch Knight’ Reinier de Ridder will put his middleweight crown on the line against former titleholder Vitaly Bigdash in the finale of the July 22 extravaganza in Singapore.
Bigdash recently made the move to Phuket, Thailand, to hone his skills at Tiger Muay Thai. There, he met Malykhin, and the two have since formed a close bond. 'Sladkiy’ is confident his new teammate Vitaly Bigdash will beat Reinier de Ridder to become the new middleweight king.
Malykhin told ONE:
"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.”
Vitaly Bigdash is coming off a big win against the ‘Burmese Python’ Aung La N Sang in their much-anticipated trilogy bout last February. He demonstrated to the world how much of a complete fighter he is with his elite striking and grappling abilities.
Reinier de Ridder may be better on the ground, but the defending world champion likely hasn’t come across someone as well-rounded as Bigdash.
Anatoly Malykhin is convinced of his teammate’s potential to become middleweight world champion again. Bigdash has had a long journey to the top since losing the belt to Aung La N Sang in 2017.
Still pushing forward, and recently joining one of the world’s leading combat sports gyms in Phuket, Malykhin believes that Bigdash will achieve his shining glory.
Anatoly Malykhin waiting for the day to unify world title belts against Arjan Bhullar
Now that Vitaly Bigdash is on his way to championship glory, Anatoly Malykhin is just waiting to unify his belt against long-time rival Arjan Bhullar.
Bhullar was crowned king of the heavyweight division with a knockout win against ‘The Truth’ Brandon Vera in 2021. Since then, the Canadian-Indian superstar hasn’t defended his belt.
Now that Bhullar has announced his return, ‘Sladkiy’ is salivating for the opportunity to knock ‘Singh’ out in a heavyweight unification bout. The undefeated Russian warrior has three impressive wins with ONE Championship, with his latest being a knockout victory against Kirill Grishenko.
Malykhin fans can expect a big battle ahead as soon as a date is announced. When it does, it’s no doubt going to be an absolute banger.