ONE Championship has a new (interim) heavyweight king! Anatoly Malykhin knocked out Kirill Grishenko in the second round tonight to win the belt and a shot at regular champion Arjan Bhullar.

The undefeated Russian had originally been booked to fight Bhullar. But a contractual dispute sidelined the champion and Grishenko was brought in to battle for the interim version of the strap.

From the offset it was Malykhin who set the pace. He wanted to knock Grishenko out with punches but struggled to find his range with most of the shots finding only thin air.

Power punches

Grishenko didn’t seem to have a gameplan other than to stay away from his opponent’s power punches. The Russian scored a takedown midway through the opening round and was able to remain in to position until the bell.

At the start of the second Malykhin landed a solid left hand which didn’t seem to have any impact on Grishenko. But it probably proved decisive because the Belarusian started circling to his left and circled straight into a right hook.

This time the impact was immediate. Grishenko was floored and the fight was called off at the 3:42 mark.

With the win Malykhin improves to 11-0 while Grishenko drops to 5-1 having tasted defeat for the first time in his career.

Best of the rest

Earlier in the evening Chen Rui (10-3) and Mark Abelardo (20-9) had put on the fight of the night. The Chinese fighter started strongly but the New Zealander rallied in the final two rounds which made for some thrilling exchanges.

Sung Hoon Woo (9-2) had a ONE Championship debut to remember. He needed just 18 seconds to knock out Yodkaikaew Fairtex (7-4-1) and was awarded a $50,000 USD bonus for his efforts.

ONE: ‘Bad Blood’, Singapore, February 11th
Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko by KO (Punch) at 3:42 of R2
Muay Thai: Jonathan Haggerty def. Mongkolpetch Petchyindee via Decision (Unanimous)
Chen Rui def. Mark Abelardo via Decision (Unanimous)
Jihin Radzuan def. Mei Yamaguchi via Decision (Unanimous)
Sung Hoon Woo def. Yodkaikaew Fairtex via KO (Punches) at 0:18
Danial Williams def. Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke via KO (Body Punch) at 1:35 of R2
Dustin Joynson def. Hugo Cunha via Decision (Split)
Heqin Lin def. Bi Nguyen via Decision (Unanimous)
Odie Delaney def. Thomas Narmo via Submission (Shoulder Lock) at 1:06 of R1
Tial Thang vs. Sunoto ends in a DQ (Illegal blows)