Anatoly Malykhin becomes MMA’s first Champ-Champ-Champ

March 4, 2024
1 month

Anatoly Malykhin should now be considered the undisputed king of ONE Championship’s MMA divisions. The Russian fighter did worse than knock out Reinier de Ridder during their middleweight title fight this weekend. Malykhin pummeled de Ridder so thoroughly that de Ridder decided to stop fighting after being taken down and kneed in the third round.

When Malykhin stood up to return to striking, de Ridder tried a leglock. When de Ridder couldn’t hold on, he decided not to return to his feet when referee Herb Dean motioned him back to his feet. There was a look of total exhaustion on de Ridder’s face after he had taken such a sustained beating.

It’s nothing new for Malykhin, who, according to MMA breaking news, was already the organization’s light heavyweight and heavyweight champion. The best MMA news sites show that Malykhin will likely have the opportunity to call his shots with ONE Championship. Malykhin is 14-0 and has already won four championship fights in different weight divisions.

ONE will need to take advantage of having the first MMA fighter to hold three championships in a major promotion. What will be interesting for Malykhin will be which belt he chooses to hold onto. It’s hard to imagine he will want to continue cutting weight and putting his body through crazy transformations. 

This was a big night for ONE, which was holding a card in Qatar for the first time. The action and controversy throughout the night helped make it an interesting first trip to Qatar.

Brooks Grabs Title in Controversial Manner

Nothing is worse than a fight in MMA that involves interpreting a confusing set of rules. Because there are several disciplines of fighting being mixed during fights, weird things will happen. Jarred Brooks is cussing out what can be an impossible situation for effective wrestlers to handle properly.

Brooks was behind Joshua Pacio during the first round of their strawweight title fight, resting his back against the cage. What Brooks was working on was wrenching up a body lock to get Pacio off his feet. Brooks successfully lifted Pacio off the mat and slammed him to the ground.

Because of the angle of the throw, Pacio landed on the top of his head first. Pacio, who lost the championship to Brooks in December 2022, was awarded the championship after the slam was ruled illegal. Pacio had previously defended the title three times before losing it to Brooks.

This loss will set up a firestorm of debate about how slams should be refereed when people look at MMAfighting latest news. While no one wants to see a fighter get dumped on his head, Pacio’s arm hit before his head landed on the canvas. While Brooks threw Pacio with some force, there was no intent to seriously injure his opponent. 

Tang Kai Defends Featherweight Title With Emphatic Performance

The first fight between Tang Kai and Thanh Le was close. Tang made sure he left no doubt about who was better during the rematch. Tang struggled with knee issues after the two men met for the first time in August 2022.

Early in the third round, Tang put together a devastating sequence to put Le away. Tang caught Le with a hook that sent Le to the canvas. Both fighters started slowly in the first round. However, Tang opened things up in the second round. He landed big body shots to help create an opening to land a hook upstairs that won the fight in the third round.

Let’s See Some Action Boys

Arjan Bhullar fell victim to one of the more unique rules with ONE Championship. If you aren’t going to try to win the fight and you attempt to stall, the referees are within their rights to show cards, soccer-style, to try and encourage more action. ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong was so upset with Bhullar being disqualified for timidity that he let him have it in the press conference following the match.

Siityodtong was so upset at how Bhullar performed as he believes that Bhullar let people down in India.

“That’s the first time in the history of the company that we’ve ever issued a red card on timidity,” Sityodtong said. “He didn’t want to fight. And if you don’t want to fight, then why are you a professional fighter? And you definitely don’t belong at the pinnacle of martial arts. I was deeply disappointed in Arjan, and I think he let down India. India will no longer look at him as a hero.”

Dean was the referee and issued Bhullar a yellow card early in the second round and a second yellow card right before the second round ended. Both of the yellow cards also included a 10 percent deduction from Bhullar’s purse. While Dean attempted to issue a soft warning to avoid disqualification, Bhullar didn’t change his style, and Dean issued the red card with 45 seconds left in the fight. Amir Aliakbari was awarded a DQ victory.

Early Part of Card Provides Opportunities for Fighters

There was so much drama and controversy at the top of the card that it’s easy to forget that ONE usually has a number of fights that mix disciplines. While this was an event that mostly featured MMA bouts, there were also a few Muay Thai bouts and a grappling contest on the card.

Here’s a look at the results of the fights not listed above:

  • Catchweight (147 pounds), Mehdi Zatout wins by decision over Zuhayr Al-Qahtani
  • Catchweight (147.75) Muay Thai, Vladimir Kuzmin win by decision over Zafer Sayik
  • Flyweight submission grappling, Cleber Sousa win by reverse triangle armbar over Osamah Almarwai, Round 1 5:31
  • Flyweight Muay Thai, Ali Saldoev win by knockout (punches) over Zakaria El Jamari, Round 2 5:51
  • Strawweight, Keito Yamakita win by submission over Jeremy Miado, Round 1 4:04

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By Dean McHugh.