De Ridder: Malykhin has nothing special
published : 1 Dec 2022 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
ONE Championship middleweight and light-heavyweight world champion Reinier de Ridder will enter the circle for his third headlining performance this year on Saturday.
The unbeaten MMA superstar from the Netherlands will defend his light-heavyweight strap against ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin of Russia in the main event of ONE Fight Night 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
"The Dutch Knight" is well-versed in trash talk, but he has had some positive things to say about his upcoming foe in the lead-up to the fight. However, in his typical fashion, he did sting "Sladkiy."
"He's dangerous, of course. We've seen in his previous fights. He knocks people out. He's wild. He's explosive. He's an interesting opponent, but he doesn't bring anything really special to the table," he said.
Saturday will be De Ridder's first defence of his ONE light-heavyweight world championship, and he aims to push his perfect MMA record to 17-0 with a victory over Malykhin.
The 32-year-old's last performance in the circle may be one of his best yet.
He faced another dangerous Russian in Vitaly Bigdash at ONE 159 in July and survived an early scare to finish him via submission before the end of the opening round.
Malykhin is an undeniable threat to De Ridder's reign over the light-heavyweight division. He has a perfect slate with 11 victories and a jaw-dropping 100 percent finishing rate.
But De Ridder wouldn't have got this far by succumbing to fear, and he has shown none for the man who'll stand opposite him this Saturday.
"I think I can get in his face and hit him with some good jabs and with some good kicks. Clinch him, take him down. I see me controlling him on the floor, hitting him with some elbows, hitting him with some knees. And I see myself choking him out at the end of the first," he said.