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Reinier De Ridder Focusing On Redemption Against Anatoly Malykhin At ONE 166

ONE 166

When ONE Championship debuts in Qatar at the Lusail Sports Arena on Friday, March 1, Reinier De Ridder will be seeking redemption.

In the main event of ONE 166: Qatar, “The Dutch Knight” will defend the ONE Middleweight MMA World Championship against ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight MMA World Champion Anatoly Malykhin.

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In their first meeting, the Russian battered the Dutchman, but De Ridder wants to put that behind him at ONE 166.

“I made a mistake. I wasn’t myself. I dropped the ball, and I’m looking to make good on this one,” De Ridder told ONE.

“The Dutch Knight” attributes some of the loss to complacency.

Before the devastating loss, he was an unbeaten terror moving through the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. De Ridder says that he is now back to focusing on what has made him great.

“In the preparation for the fight and maybe even the fights before, I kind of lost track of what makes me great. I got away from putting in the time as much, developing every little small area of my game,” De Ridder admitted.

“You win 16 in a row, and to be honest, not to sound arrogant because I’m not trying to be arrogant, it always went pretty easily in the fights.”

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“It was always like that. There’s a guy in front of me, I walk towards him, I take him down, I choke him out, basically. In my head, it kind of got stuck that this is how fights go, and I could do this to anybody in the world – until I couldn’t.”

The middleweight king admitted that he took Malykhin’s power for granted. He believed he could walk him down and implement his game.

With the rematch set, De Ridder is ready to show what he can really do against the beastly Russian who is seeking to make history on March 1.

“I’m very happy that it’s Malykhin again. Very happy that it’s a chance to redeem myself, which is the most important thing. It’s about me getting back on this last fight. It’s about me redeeming myself. It’s about redemption,” the ONE Middleweight MMA World Champion confessed.

The 33-year-old wants to be the more technical athlete inside the Circle in preparation for the title tilt. To combat Malykhin’s power, he has been doubling down on his striking training so that he can withstand the pressure at ONE 166.

“The thing that’s most important to me, what’s really close to my heart, is the technical aspect, which I’ve been working on very hard,” De Ridder stated.

“I’ve been doing a lot of my striking work at Hemmers. I’ve done this in the past, but not as consistently and not as much focused on it as I have right now. It’s always very tough to go there.”

Outside of the preparation in the gym, De Ridder is getting his mind right. Ahead of his next title defense, “The Dutch Knight” admits he must also be on point mentally.

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When he enters the Lusail Sports Arena, De Ridder has all of the self-belief that he will find his next submission and complete his redemption arc.

“I know where my strengths lie in this one. I know where I can do what I do best. It’s just a matter of time before I get those openings. As long as I stay safe, I’m going to find his neck eventually,” De Ridder said.

ONE 166: Qatar airs live at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST on Friday, March 1

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