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Anatoly Malykhin feels ONE Light Heavyweight Title tilt will be “noble battle”

Singapore, November 24: Anatoly Malykhin has been speaking recently about his upcoming ONE Light Heavyweight World Title fight with divisional king Reinier de Ridder.

The ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion will challenge "The Dutch Knight" for his gold in the main event of ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, on December 3.

"Sladkiy" is full of admiration for the undefeated De Ridder, but he remains confident that he can relieve the two-division ONE World Champion of the light heavyweight belt when they square off.

"I'm excited about challenges like this. He's a great fighter, a great athlete. I will be happy to share the Circle with him. I'm sure it will be the event of the year," Malykhin said.

"I will try to display my best skills, my courage, and I will try to impress the audience. They expect a good show. I'm going to win. It will be a noble battle."

Reinier De Ridder to defend ONE Light Heavyweight World Title against Anatoly Malykhin at ONE Fight Night 5Reinier De Ridder to defend ONE Light Heavyweight World Title against Anatoly Malykhin at ONE Fight Night 5

The unbeaten Russian star will move down in weight for the first time in his MMA career to face the Dutch dynamo, and he feels he has done all the right things to make the transition a success.

Malykhin has made certain dietary sacrifices to guarantee he'll come in at the light heavyweight weight restrictions, but with a World Title on the line, it has been worth it.

"I was offered a fight with him, but I was [heavy], so we took a couple of days to discuss it with my manager and my team. In the end, we accepted the fight and decided to drop the weight," he said.

"I feel good, I work with a nutritionist, and my wife helps me. I am rested and full, [and] the weight is going down well. I don't see any difference in my physicality; I feel comfortable. I just eat less. I don't eat sweets -though I feel like it sometimes."

De Ridder has been absolutely flawless in his ONE career to date, netting seven-straight wins against some of the best the promotion has to offer, including Burmese legend Aung La N Sang and former welterweight king Kiamrian Abbasov.

Once the hurdle of the weigh-ins and hydration tests have been navigated, Malykhin knows that he is faced with an even greater challenge when he meets the Dutch superstar.

"He has good jiu-jitsu. His transitions are on point. However, I have good wrestling, too. My base is freestyle wrestling, it's going to be hard for him to take me down," he said.

"I cannot say that a man with a 16-0 record has any weaknesses, especially one who holds two belts. I think the one who has the stronger character, who is better prepared, who wants to win the belt more will win."

Nonetheless, the 34-year-old believes he can ward off De Ridder's takedowns and end the night early. He has the wrestling skills to maneuver out of anything his opponent throws at him and the power to make his strikes hurt when he gets a chance to throw them.

"I think I can [get the finish] again, and I'll finish the fight before the second round. I'll go out there, and I'll hunt for his head. I'll chase him. I'll punch him," he said.

"Maybe he'll try to impose his grappling on me, but I'll break the grip. I'm going to hit him in the body, in the head, and I'm going to hurt him. I don't think he'll go the whole distance."

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Thursday, November 24, 2022, 14:25 [IST]
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