Arjan Bhullar has finally signed the contract! After months of postponements, delays, accusations and excuses the reigning ONE Championship heavyweight title holder has finally put pen to paper on a fight with Anatoly Malykhin.
It is difficult to know exactly why the fight has taken to long to put together, or quite how things became so acrimonious. Malykhin has repeatedly accused Bhullar of being a chicken while Chatri Sityodtong simply said he was scared.
Bhullar definitely did have an arm injury and underwent surgery. In his absence Malykhin has claimed the interim heavyweight belt and dropped down a division to claim the light heavyweight title, establishing himself as one of the best fighters in the world.
Meanwhile Bhullar has been out of action since beating Brandon Vera in 2021. But according to the Canadian he has signed a bout agreement for an upcoming ONE on Prime Video event:
View this post on Instagram
Bhullar doesn’t mention Malykhin in his post but that is clearly the fight ONE Championship is trying to make. The Russian has been taunting him on social media for well over a year.
Malykhin has really put the effort into his trash talking, repeatedly calling Bhullar a chicken in Instagram posts. But the Russian has also been making statements inside the cage.
In his most recent fight he 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.
Afterwards Malykhin was dismissive when shown Bhullar’s response to the fight which he had clearly been watching:
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 3, 2022
Of more concern to the Canadian will have been Chatri’s reaction. The ONE Championship head honcho told reporters afterwards that he believed Bhullar was scared of Malykhin and looking for excuses to avoid fighting him.
It is one thing to be taunted by one of your rivals, with the two men clearly on a collision course it is easy to see why Malykhin would want to get under Bhullar’s skin. But it is quite another to have the man who is effectively your boss come up with such a withering assessment of the situation.
Bhullar will have a point to prove when the two men finally do fight. He has already drawn attention to the failed drug test that marred Malykhin’s wrestling career and called him ‘a dirty Russian’.
With the fight finally booked the war of words is sure to escalated further. Things are going to get nasty and this heavyweight title unification bout will be a genuine grudge match.