A rematch between Anatoly Malykhin and Amir Aliakbari appears to be in the works. The Iranian has made it clear that he wants the fight and the reigning heavyweight champion would have no qualms about accepting what he believes would be an ‘easy’ pay day.
Malykhin has already beaten Aliakbari once. That fight at ONE: ‘Revolution’ in 2021 did not last around and he would go on to become the promotion’s heavyweight and light heavyweight champion.
Aliakbari is in pole position to challenge for the latter belt and Malykhin is clearly not going to turn down this particular fight,
“For me, he is easy money.”
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Aliakbari has stopped his last three opponents. At ONE Fight Night 12 last Saturday he finished Dustin Joynson in the opening round with Malykhin sitting ringside at Lumpinee Stadium.
The Iranian might have won the fight but he clearly did not impress Malykhin,
“Watching his last fight, I see he moves like he’s underwater. He’s very slow, just dragging the fight.”
Malykhin has clearly watched all of Aliakbari’s recent fights and doesn’t sound particularly impressed by the standard of opposition,
“If this guy thinks that he will be able to take me down and finish me from the crucifix like he did with the others then he is very delusional. After two or three of my punches, he’ll just go to sleep.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) September 24, 2021
Face to face
The two went face to face at Lumpinee Stadium. It wasn’t clear whether Malykhin was trying to grab Aliakbari in a Thai clinch or embrace him warmly and they were swiftly separated before fans could find out.
But having eyeballed his upcoming opponent at close quarters Malykhin already feels he has a psychological advantage,
“I saw it in his eyes that he doesn’t understand what he is doing. He doesn’t understand what is waiting for him.”
In interviews with ONE Championship officials Aliakbari and Malykhin have both been asked about the possibility of fighting in Qatar. ONE Championship looks set to be returning to the Middle East later this year and the champion would love to defend his title there,
“I would love to fight in Qatar. I always go out of my way to please the audience, to put on a show (and) I would be remembered with my beautiful knockout.”