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Anatoly Malykhin Beams With Confidence Before Shot At Third World Title at ONE 166, Qatar


Anatoly Malykhin has reigned over ONE Championship since his arrival on the scene. The undefeated Russian powerhouse stands atop both the heavyweight and light heavyweight mountains, and he is eyeing the middleweight peak at ONE 166: Qatar on Friday, March 1.

"Sladkiy" feels no pressure ahead of his rematch against Reinier De Ridder. He is loving life and training. Part of the confidence stems from his dominance against De Ridder during their first encounter.

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With the rematch looming, Malykhin believes he knows what he can expect and that it will make no difference to the final result.

"This time, we focused on wrestling; I'm pretty sure De Ridder will try to wrestle with me. We worked a lot on freestyle wrestling, so it will be hard to take me down, and we also worked on jiu-jitsu," Malykhin told ONE.

The Russian superstar even questions what "The Dutch Knight" expects to accomplish after experiencing his overwhelming power. The confidence could be seen as arrogance to some, but it is just a matter of fact for Malykhin.

"Yes, surely he has already drawn conclusions from our previous encounter, but what could he do since then? I don't think he's learned how to fight in the stand-up, or how to punch hard, or how to freestyle wrestle," the two-division World Champion said.

In preparation for his drop to middleweight, Malykhin has taken up swimming. The additional training has more benefits beyond just his weight drop. Malykhin is focusing on adding to his cardio.

As he becomes even more well-rounded, the Russian says he can adapt on the fly and become an even greater threat to anyone who tries to become the first man to give him a loss.

"The scary thing for all my opponents is that I don't have a plan for any fight at all. I just go out there and do what I love doing and enjoy it. When we get in the cage with De Ridder, we'll see in the first scrap what De Ridder can do at 93 kilograms. I think it's going to be the same as last time," Malykhin claimed.

Already the winner in his head, Malykhin is not even focused on what will come next. As a potential three-division titleholder, the Russian will have many challengers waiting for their shot at glory.

Malykhin is leaving the decision for what comes next up to the matchmakers, as he will accept whatever or whoever steps up next.

"I don't worry about that. I fight every opponent I can. There are matchmakers who make the cards. They know what's best for ONE. They have more experience, they have a better view of the situation, they have more experience in this business than I do. And I'm ready to fight anybody. There's no difference to me. I'm ready to fight any two of these guys at the same time on the same night," Malykhin said.

ONE 166 airs live and free on Prime Video on Friday, March 1. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST.

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