A heavyweight unification bout is confirmed for ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24th. Regular champion Arjan Bhullar will face interim champion Anatoly Malykhin in a card that is being broadcast live on Prime Video in North America.
The fight has been in the works for over a year now and was originally booked for ONE 161 in September. Bhullar pulled out of that event in order to undergo arm surgery.
Instead of challenging Bhullar the Russian dropped down to light heavyweight and handed Reinier de Ridder the first loss of his entire career. The Dutchman had dominated the division up until that point but it was a completely one sided fight with Malykhin winning the light heavyweight title.
He was already the interim heavyweight champion making the March 24th fight a unification bout:
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Bhullar (11-1) is the regular champion. He won the belt by stopping Brandon Vera last year but has not fought in 14 months after becoming involved in a contractual dispute which was ultimately resolved.
With Bhullar sidelined due to those contract negotiations the promotion introduced an interim belt. Malykhin (12-0) won it by stopping Kirill Grishenko in the second round and the two men have been going back and forth on social media for over a year now.
Malykhin has repeatedly accused Bhullar of being a chicken while Chatri Sityodtong told reporters he fought the Canadian was running scared. The Russian was extremely dismissive in the aftermath of his win over de Ridder:
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 3, 2022
We don’t currently have a location for ONE Fight Night 8. But the card will take place on Saturday morning somewhere in Asia in order to accommodate the Friday night prime time TV audience in North America.
ONE Fight Night 6 is set for Bangkok on January 14th. It will be headlined by a featherweight kickboxing title fight between champion Superbon Banchamek and challenger Chingiz Allazov.
ONE Fight Night 7 was booked for Jakarta with John Lineker set to rematch Fabricio Andrade for the vacant bantamweight belt in the main event. However there are reports coming out that the card will be moved to Bangkok.