The fight is an intriguing match between a BJJ star and a striker. Dutchman de Ridder has had eight of his last 11 wins by assist, while Malykhin has an impressive wrestling background, the last five of his wins coming from his hands, the last three of them in ONE.
However, one of the most anticipated differences is the size. De Ridder’s last two bouts have both been at middleweight and he now faces his first defense of his light heavyweight title against a man considered by some to be the best at heavyweight – and that includes de Ridder, who is named by the View is excited of the fight.
“Malykhin is the real heavyweight champion to me because Arjan Bhullar has been inactive for so long. So, yes, it’s the real fight. Yes, it’s a cool fight,” said the 32-year-old.
Despite the wrestling background, de Ridder is confident in dictating the fight on his terms – and has no qualms about defeating his Russian opponent.
“He’s naturally stocky, he’s a lot shorter than me,” said the 16-0 fighter. “He’ll be a little bigger than me, a little heavier. But to be honest, he doesn’t bring anything special into play wrestling department. We’ve seen in previous fights that he has a decent double. But not me really see that he stops everything else.
“Well, of course he’s dangerous. We’ve seen in his previous fights that he KOs people. He is wild. He’s explosive. He’s an interesting opponent but he doesn’t really bring anything special to the table.”
And with that in mind, he predicts a short night shift.
“I think I can face him and hit him with some good jabs and with some good kicks. Grab him, bring him to the ground, I see me controlling him on the ground, hitting him with some elbows, hitting him with some knees. And I see myself strangling him at the end of the first one.”
No wonder Malykhin doesn’t see things that way, but is looking forward to the fight.
“I look forward to such challenges,” he said. “He’s a great fighter, a great athlete. I am happy to share the circle with him. I’m sure it will be the event of the year! Every fight is very important to me. I train like it’s the last thing ever. I’ll try to show my best skills my courage and I will try to impress the audience. They expect a good show. I will win. ”
The Russian acknowledges de Ridder’s excellent ground play but believes he can choke the Dutchman and then go in pursuit of the knockout.
“He has good jiu-jitsu, his transitions are spot on. However, I also have good wrestling. My base is freestyle wrestling, it will be hard for him to bring me down. I’m going to look for a nice knockout because people want entertainment and people like stand-up fights.
Confident of winning the title this weekend, 34-year-old Malykhin has already charted the remaining years of his career.
“After beating De Ridder I want to rule the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions until I’ll be 40 if I’m comfortable at that weight. Then I can put up a nice final fight, thank all the fans, the team members and Mr. Chatri for treating me and my family so well. Then I can hug everyone, shed a tear, take off my gloves, put them in the middle of the ring and go.”
We’ll see if the first part of that comes true this weekend.
ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs Malykhin will be held on Saturday December 3rd at 5am GST at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila. This is a night not to be missed, so mark your calendars, download the ONE Super App and go to watch.onefc.com now!