Anatoly Malykhin unsure of how Gantumur Bayanduuren survived the Mikey Lock

Anatoly Malykhin (Left) had to turn away from Mikey Musumeci
Anatoly Malykhin (Left) had to turn away from Mikey Musumeci's performance at ONE Fight Night 6

Anatoly Malykhin wasn’t the only person watching on who had to turn away from the events of the flyweight submission grappling world championship match on January 13.

The two-division world champion was seated circleside for ONE Fight Night 6, the promotion’s first event of the year. In the first of three world championship clashes, Mikey Musumeci looked to defend his flyweight submission grappling world championship for the first time against Gantumur Bayanduuren.

For the majority of the contest, Musumeci had his opponent in his signature move, the Mikey lock. After his opponent refused to tap out in an act of stubbornness, Musumeci continued to attack his legs, which ended up causing Bayanduuren significant injuries.

It was undoubtedly one of the most difficult-to-watch contests in ONE Championship’s history, a sentiment shared by Anatoly Malykhin in an interview with the promotion:

“I was standing a meter away from the cage, and I could not even look at what was going on. I don’t know how he endured it, but I saw with my own eyes how his knee joints were popping out. It was a horrible scene.”

Many fans and fighters have criticized Bayanduuren’s decision to fight through the pain instead of tapping out and avoiding career-defining injuries.

Mikey Musumeci shares thoughts on "awesome" Anatoly Malykhin

World champions Mikey Musumeci and Anatoly Malykhin are two of ONE Championship’s biggest stars for very different reasons. Through videos that have been posted of them backstage, the two have struck up an unexpected friendship.

Backing up their pedigree with their performances inside the circle, Musumeci and Malykhin have a combined unbeaten record of 7-0. Whilst Musumeci is part of ONE’s expansion into submission grappling, becoming the inaugural flyweight champion at ONE on Prime Video 2, Malykhin holds both the light heavyweight world championship and the interim heavyweight title.

In an interview with SCMP MMA, ‘Darth Rigatoni’ spoke about his friendship with Anatoly Malykhin:

"He’s awesome. He would break me in half, he’s so big. He’s so cool. He’s teaching me Russian. He’s getting better [in English]. He could talk more English now."

Both competitors are different in nearly every way, but they share a rare talent in being able to compete under the brightest lights against the very best opponents in the world.

Watch Mikey Musumeci's conversation with SCMP MMA below:


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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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