“I think I’m way faster and I’m way stronger than Arjan Bhullar,” he said.
Bhullar is based in Canada but has a huge fan following in India. Malykhin believes that he too can bring a big audience to the table from his native Russia,
“When I got the contract I was super happy to get this rolling. The Russian audience is huge, and we are in love with MMA. I feel very responsible and I’m very proud to represent Russia.”
Last Friday at ONE: ‘Revolution’ he knocked Amir Aliakbari out in spectacular style. The Iranian has been touted as the best fighter in the heavyweight division but Malykhin needed less than four minutes to finish him.
A left hand did the damage although Malykhin was connecting with his opponent’s chin right from the get go. He says Johnny Hutchinson, the boxing coach at Tiger Muay Thai, calls him ‘the white Mike Tyson’,
“Johnny, my boxing coach, he motivates me so much. He always says, ‘You are a white Tyson. You will knock out people easily.’ That kind of gives me confidence in that sense.”
Chasing a dream
He certainly looked confident as he set about punishing Aliakbari with his punches. It was his second win of the year for ONE Championship and he had also been scheduled to face the Iranian in April but the bout fell through.
Having not fought at all in 2020 Malykhin is happy to be getting regular bouts,
“I’m very grateful that ONE Championship keeps giving me fights, and I keep going towards my title shot.”
He dreams of winning the heavyweight title and now only Bhullar stands between Malykhin and making that dream a reality,
“One day, I hope I can get the title and defend this title for a very long time. The ONE Championship title is my dream, and I believe dreams can come true.”