"They are not even on the level of my pinky" - Amir Aliakbari and Anatoly Malykhin trade barbs ahead of heated heavyweight showdown

Amir Aliakbari (left) / Anatoly Malykhin (right)
Amir Aliakbari (left) / Anatoly Malykhin (right)
Atilano Diaz

When the self-proclaimed king of the heavyweights, Amir Aliakbari, steps into the Circle with Anatoly Malykhin this Friday night, September 24 at ONE Championship: Revolution, he will be looking for redemption.

While his unbeaten Russian adversary holds a perfect 9-0 record in mixed martial arts competition, Amir Aliakbari’s most recent outing wasn’t so successful. The Iranian former Olympian suffered a shock knockout loss in his ONE debut last March, after a counter left hand from South Korean banger Kang Ji Won separated him from his senses.

Yet surprisingly enough, the controversial Amir Aliakbari, who spoke to ONE Championship recently, has not seemed to lose any confidence heading into his next matchup.

“You can ask any heavyweight, they all know — that last fight doesn’t represent me. I’ll get past Anatoly and then I’m looking at Arjan [Bhullar],” Amir Aliakbari told ONE, already setting his sights on the heavyweight world champion.

Known for his light-hearted sense of humor, Anatoly Malykhin laughed off Amir Aliakbari’s grandiose comments and unleashed a sarcastic response when he learned of what the Iranian said.

“It seems like not everyone thinks in the same way. Our Korean brother [Kang Ji Won] a hundred percent didn’t think about it that way. And I know that Russian fans, Russian people also don’t think about him in that way. So you know, it’s better not to have a high opinion of yourself,” Anatoly Malykhin said with a smirk.

Bad blood between Amir Aliakbari and Anatoly Malykhin

Anatoly Malykhin ignited a bit of bad blood following Amir Aliakbari’s loss to Kang earlier this year, by uploading a video to Instagram which saw the Russian athlete laughing, giddy with excitement at the sight of Aliakbari being knocked out.

However, despite the video and his dismissal of Aliakbari’s comments, Malykhin insists that he is not underestimating his opponent.

“I enjoy this opportunity, this journey that I have, so I can’t wait to finish [Aliakbari]… He’s very strong and he has very good grappling and wrestling. But he has a lot of weaknesses as well. He has been knocked out a couple of times, but we cannot underestimate him. We will see in this fight.

It’s safe to say the two heavyweights just don’t like each other, plain and simple.

Amir Aliakbari, however, says he doesn’t like any of the heavyweights in ONE to be exact, and is more than confident he will barrel through the opposition on his way to a world title shot.

“I don’t like any of my opponents. My only goal is to smash every single opponent I face,” Aliakbari said.
“None of these guys are on my level. They are not even on the level of my pinky, and I’ll show that. I’ve won four world titles and these guys haven’t even gotten third place, so they don’t know what they are talking about. They are daydreaming, and when they see me in the cage — starting with Anatoly — they’ll wake up real quick.”

The bout between Amir Aliakbari and Anatoly Malykhin has been labeled a potential heavyweight title eliminator, with the winner of the bout likely to move on to challenge Arjan Bhullar for the ONE heavyweight world title.

broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, September 24. Christian ‘The Warrior’ Lee defends his ONE lightweight world title against No.3-ranked lightweight Ok Rae Yoon in the main event.

Edited by aditya.rangarajan

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