“Give me the scariest one first”

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ONE heavyweight world champion Arjan Bhullar may be yet to defend the strap, but he’s ready to welcome any challengers who want to get inside the circle with him.

The heavyweight division has long been anticipating his return, but it has taken a lot longer than many expected after negotiations with ONE Championship and injuries hindered a comeback.

Over the weekend, ONE Championship presented a double bill in Manila with ONE on Prime Video 5 and ONE 164. Over the course of both events, two heavyweights picked up huge wins.

Whilst Amir Aliakbari cemented himself as a top contender in the division by defeating former world champion Brandon Vera, Anatoly Malykhin also made a statement on Friday night.

Malykhin, who had become the ONE interim heavyweight world champion in Bhullar’s absence, won a second world title by defeating ONE light heavyweight world champion Reinier de Ridder via vicious knockout in the first round.

Right after the events, Bhullar posted on Instagram to tease his return against either Malykhin or Aliakbari:

“Great weekend of fights @onechampionship I’ve been cleared since November 7th. 2 heavyweights called me out this weekend. Give me the ‘scariest’ one first🙏🏾”

Either way, there are now two viable challenges waiting for Arjan Bhullar when he does eventually return to competition. With both Malykhin and Aliakbari, as well as ONE Championship, putting pressure on the heavyweight king, time is ticking.


Anatoly Malykhin responds to Arjan Bhullar’s latest post from backstage at ONE on Prime Video 5

On Friday night, Anatoly Malykhin stole all of the headlines by becoming a double world champion. At ONE on Prime Video 5, Malykhin handed Reinier de Ridder his first loss by way of a devastating knockout, taking his light heavyweight world championship in Manila.

In the absence of the ONE heavyweight world champion Arjan Bhullar, Malykhin is also the ONE interim heavyweight world champion. Now seemingly targeting a comeback, Bhullar posted on Instagram after Malykhin’s performance to try and set up a title unification.

“He’s not a 2 weight champ [ONE Championship] he’s now the light heavyweight champ. It’s easy to punch out a BJJ guy with 0 takedown ability. He did what he was supposed to. Let me do what I’m supposed to. I was told March earlier this week. Still waiting on the paperwork… “

Anatoly Malykhin heard this and responded:

“Ooooh, Chicken. Blah blah blah.”

Since Arjan Bhullar has been out of competition for quite some time, Anatoly Malykhin has emerged as one of the most dangerous fighters ONE Championship has ever seen.

The Russian is riding a four-fight win streak since signing with the promotion, producing consecutive knockouts inside the circle.

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