Undefeated Dutch MMA phenom and ONE double champion Reinier de Ridder attempted to defend his light heavyweight title against interim heavyweight champion Anatoly Malykhin in the main event of ONE on Prime 5 in Manila, Philippines.
Originally a middleweight, which is 205lbs in ONE Championship, the fight would feature by far the biggest opponent that RDR has fought in his career despite owning the 235lb belt which was on the line on Saturday.
‘The Dutch Knight’ is a grappling specialist, having submitted twelve of his sixteen opponents, including four of his seven in ONE Championship. However, his Russian opponent also came in undefeated in eleven bouts and owns a skillset which could trouble RDR, he has a solid wrestling base and relies on his prodigious knockout power, evidenced by his 100% finishing rate. The question coming in was if RDR would be able to take down Malykhin and submit him, given Anatoly’s size and takedown defense.
RDR came out hot with front kicks before crashing into the clinch, but Malykhin was able to defend the takedown. Malykhin then landed a clean straight punch that rocked RDR but the Dutchman was able to tie up and avoid eating follow-up shots. Malykhin reversed position and got on the outside of the clinch, pushing RDR against the fence and landing knees.
Some slick trip attempts were defended by Malykhin before getting back to space and throwing hands. De Ridder kept shooting takedowns, of all varieties, but was unable to land any. A failed takedown attempt caused RDR to fall to the ground where Malykhin landed a big right hand before forcing the stand up. The striking gap on the feet was apparent and de Ridder was already beat up, but refused to quit.
Uppercuts came from Malykhin whenever the clinch was engaged and routinely hurt RDR as did big right hands from distance. Late in the round Anatoly began to target the body as well and it became a beatdown, but still RDR refused to go down or quit despite being stuck on the fence constantly. Finally, with thirty seconds left in the opening round, Malykhin dropped the champ with a crisp right hook against the fence and finished him off with hammerfists. One undefeated fighter had stopped another and become a double champion at the expense of another, and it was done in spectacular, dominant fashion.
Malykhin still needed to unify the heavyweight title with Arjan Bhullar, but there are signs that Bhullar’s time in ONE may be over due to his inactivity.
Official Result: Anatoly Malykhin def. Reinier de Ridder (c) by knockout, Round 1, 4:35