Reinier de Ridder, Anatoly Malykhin in pursuit of contrasting rewards at ONE 166: Qatar

By BJPENN.COM Staff - February 29, 2024

Reinier de Ridder and Anatoly Malykhin carry distinct motivations heading into their epic rematch this Friday, March 1.

Reinier de Ridder and Anatoly Malykhin

The five-round clash for De Ridder’s ONE Middleweight MMA World Title happens in the main event of ONE 166: Qatar. It emanates live from the majestic Lusail Sports Arena.

The initial clash between these two warriors unfolded in December 2022. That was back when De Ridder stood tall as an undefeated two-division ONE World Champion.

What was expected to be another routine victory for “The Dutch Knight” took a shocking turn, however. Malykhin delivered a brutal knockout in the first round to claim the ONE Light Heavyweight MMA World Title from De Ridder.

Now, as they prepare to run it back, De Ridder is fueled by a burning desire for career redemption.

“Belts don’t matter anymore. We all have belts,” he said. “It’s about one thing, he beat me last time, and he hurt me. I’ve got a year to prepare for this.”

“I grinded every single day, and I’m ready to showcase my skills this time.”

On the flip side, Malykhin sees this second encounter as an opportunity to etch his name in the annals of MMA history.

If he emerges triumphant in Qatar, “Sladkiy” will become the first simultaneous three-division titleholder under a major promotion.

This lofty goal serves as a powerful motivator for the reigning ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight MMA World Champion. And he is eager to seize the historic opportunity.

“I’m ready for this Friday. I’m going to go and get my third belt. I’m going to knock him out the same way I did before,” the Russian said.

“Hey, De Ridder, one question for you. Doubt me, my belt is now real, not fake. Three-belt time, three-belt time, Friday.”

Anatoly Malykhin aims to KO Reinier de Ridder again

As the date approaches, Anatoly Malykhin and Reinier de Ridder are exuding confidence. However, their perspectives differ.

The Russian powerhouse foresees a similar outcome in the rematch, solidifying his status as a dominant force in multiple weight classes.

“Surely, I will knock his head out and make history on Friday,” Malykhin said.

Conversely, De Ridder remains unfazed by his past defeat and radiates with optimism that he will have the last laugh this time around.

“I’m planning to be a bit more humble this time. No predictions this time, I believe I have the skills to finish him. So we’ll have to wait this Friday,” he said.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Anatoly Malykhin ONE Championship