The heavyweight fight between Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin has been postponed so many times that some questioned whether the Canadian even wanted the fight.
Earlier this year Chatri Sityodtong said he thought Bhullar was scared of Malykhin. But the two will finally face of at ONE Friday Fights 22 and regular champion does not sound at all intimidated by the Russian who currently holds the interim strap.
If Bhullar really is scared he is hiding it very well,
“I’m not like anything else he’s faced. I’m going to run through him. I truly do believe that. I don’t see this going any other way,” he told ONEFC.com.
IT'S ON 🔥 Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin are set to unify the ONE Heavyweight World Title on June 23 at ONE Friday Fights 22 🙌 Who you got? @TheOneASB @AnatolyMalykhin #ONEFridayFights22 | June 23 at 7:30PM ICT
🌎 Live TV broadcast in 170+ countries (check local listings)… pic.twitter.com/9KEVvItjTg
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) May 19, 2023
The fight had previously been scheduled to take place on a card broadcast by Amazon Prime. These events always start early on a Saturday morning in Asia.
But Bhullar has a big fan following in India. His parents were both born there and the Sikh should have a lot of fans tuning in for his fight with Malykhin.
He is excited that fans in India will be able to watch him fight live on a Friday night,
“I’m excited that fans will be able to watch on prime time. I’m a prime time-type fighter. Prime time, all eyes on us. That’s what I want, and I want to put this guy away in front of as many eyeballs as possible.”
Arjan Bhullar 🇮🇳 becomes the FIRST Indian Mixed Martial Arts World Champion, stopping Brandon Vera with second-round strikes! @TheOneASB #ONEDangal #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/e6gblkjshC
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) May 15, 2021
This will be Bhullar’s first fight since 2021. He was involved in a prolonged contract dispute which led ONE Championship to introduce an interim title which Malykhin promptly won.
He then suffered a series of injuries and has been away from the cage for over two years. Malykhin made his ONE Championship debut just two months before Bhullar’s last fight.
Since then the Russian has gone on to win three fights out of three with all his victories coming inside the distance. He has captured both the light heavyweight and interim heavyweight titles but Bhullar believes the undefeated Russian remains unproven,
“There’s been a lot of questions that haven’t been answered. I’m going to ask them, and I don’t think he has the answers.”
Malykhin has beaten the likes of Reinier de Ridder and Amir Aliakbari but Bhullar is adamant that the Russian has not truly been tested,
“He’s never been punched. He’s never been kicked. He’s never been kneed. He’s never been taken down. He’s never been backed up. He’s never been made uncomfortable. He’s never been made to fight someone else’s fight. He’s never been made to fight on his back foot. He’s never been made to go deep into a fight where he throws everything onto a guy and the guy is still there.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) October 13, 2019
Malykhin clearly has some very slick boxing as his last three opponents have all discovered to their cost. But Bhullar questions the character of his upcoming opponent and thinks he will fold under pressure,
“Those are a lot of questions. And his character? I do not think it will hold up.”
It is fighting talk from a man who has not done any fighting for over two years. Bhullar definitely does not sound afraid and he wants to make ONE Friday Fights 22 a test of character that Malykhin won’t be able to pass.