The heavyweight unification fight between Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin was expected to headline ONE 161 next month. But that bout has been cancelled and last night the Canadian revealed why.
Bhullar is recovering from surgery. He had an operation two weeks ago and while he doesn’t disclose the exact nature of the injury he seems to have had a procedure done on the inside of his arm:
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Bhullar reassures his fans that,
“The surgery took place a couple of weeks ago and went very well. I’ll be back in the cage very soon.”
The unification bout between him and Malykhin has been in the works for nearly a year now. Initially Bhullar was unable to come to terms with ONE Championship on a new contract.
As a result an interim heavyweight title was introduced which Malykhin won. It was subsequently announced that Bhullar had signed a new contract but it is now 15 months since he last got to compete in the cage.
It’s official! Tiger Muay Thai fighter Anatoly Malykhin finally gets his long awaited @ONEChampionship Heavyweight World Title unification bout with Arjan Bhullar in the main event of #ONE161 on September 29th ✊#tmtfightteam #mma #worldchampion #tigermuaythai pic.twitter.com/JveQ1zqVij
— Tiger Muay Thai (@tigermuaythai) August 11, 2022
War of words
The two men had engaged in a war of words although Malykhin doesn’t appears to have much sympathy for Bhullar’s current predicament. He posted an emoji of a chicken in the comments section and his inference was pretty clear.
The two men have been engaged in a war of words and Malykhin has repeatedly called Bhullar a chicken. Meanwhile the Canadian has really done his research and accused the Russian of being a drugs cheat, calling him ‘dirty’.
It is the most eagerly anticipated heavyweight fight in ONE Championship history but it doesn’t look like it will be happening anytime soon. It will surely take Bhullar a while to recover from what looks like fairy serious surgery.
Once he does he will need to start his fight camp all over again. So the fight definitely won’t be happening on September 29th and might not be happening for a few more months.
It leaves Malykhin in limbo with the interim champion having only managed one fight this year. But for Bhullar the layoff will be even longer and by the time he does return the 36 year old will have taken the biggest break from competitive action of his entire MMA career.