KEY POINTS

  • The winner of the Amir Aliakbari vs. Anatoly Malykhin will face Arjan Bhullar
  • Aliakbari and Malykhin are expected to leave everything on the line 
  • Aliakbari tries to deal Malykhin his first professional career loss

When controversial Iranian wrestling star Amir Aliakbari meets undefeated Russian mauler Anatoly Malykhin in the Circle, all hell is expected to break loose.

Aliakbari and Malykhin represent two of the most dangerous heavyweights in ONE Championship.

To make things more interesting, both men have a genuine disdain for one another heading into their highly-anticipated matchup.

The two lock horns at the upcoming ONE: Revolution, scheduled to broadcast live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, September 24.

Kang Ji Won vs. Amir Aliakbari Kang Ji Won vs. Amir Aliakbari Photo: ONE Championship photo release

According to ONE Championship CEO Chatri Stiyodtong, the winner of the bout will go on to face reigning heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar in the latter’s first world title defense.

“On September 24th for ONE: Revolution, we have a title eliminator fight between Anatoly Malykhin who’s a 9-0, 250-pound specimen from Russia, versus Amir Aliakbari, Greco Roman world champion from Iran, who is I believe 10-2. The winner will face Arjan Bhullar,” Sityodtong was quoted as saying in an interview with Dylan Bowker.

Aliakbari joined ONE Championship to much fanfare in March of this year. Unfortunately, he lost in his promotional debut, succumbing to South Korean knockout artist Kang Ji Won by shock first-round KO at ONE: Fists of Fury II.

Malykhin, on the other hand, remained unbeaten as a professional, after making his first ONE Championship appearance with a TKO victory over Alexandre Machado on the same card.

“We have been making a conscious effort to beef up our heavyweight division the last several months. You have seen some of it,” Sityodtong said.

“I mean, we keep on recruiting more and more talented heavyweights.”

Echoing Sityodtong’s claim, grappling legend Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is set to make his professional MMA debut at ONE: Revolution.

Anatoly Malykhin vs. Alexandre Machado Anatoly Malykhin vs. Alexandre Machado Photo: ONE Championship photo

Almeida is widely considered one of the greatest submission grapplers of all time and has been working on his MMA game for a while now, training with the likes of former UFC champion Daniel Cormier at AKA.

Earlier this year, former UFC standout Arjan Bhullar captured the heavyweight belt after an upset victory over longtime king Brandon Vera.

With the heavyweight division finally taking shape, it is quickly becoming one of the most exciting weight classes in the promotion.