The biggest heavyweight mixed martial arts fight in ONE Championship history finally has a date.
On Thursday, September 29, ONE heavyweight world champion Arjan Bhullar (11-1) will settle his war of words with undefeated interim titleholder Anatoly Malykhin (11-0) when they meet in a world title unification match at ONE 161.
Bhullar, a former Olympic wrestler who owns an 11-1 professional MMA record, has used his prized grappling and sharp boxing to climb the heavyweight mountain.
In May 2021, he reached the pinnacle when he defeated longtime ONE heavyweight world champion Brandon Vera via second-round TKO to earn the gold.
By doing so, "Singh" also became India's first MMA world champion.
A contract dispute, however, kept Bhullar on the sidelines for the next several months. Meanwhile, ONE's heavyweight division moved forward in his absence.
The organization continued to sign world-class athletes and talented prospects, but Malykhin quickly separated himself from the pack with a trio of highlight-reel performances.
"Sladkiy" scored impressive knockout victories over former ONE world title challenger Alexandre Machado, Greco-Roman wrestling world champion Amir Aliakbari, and then-unbeaten contender Kirill Grishenko this past February to claim the ONE interim heavyweight world title.
In the process, the Russian juggernaut elevated his spotless MMA record to 11-0 and maintained his flawless 100 percent finishing rate.
For nearly a year, Malykhin has been actively calling out Bhullar, and the pair have been trading barbs publicly through interviews and social media ever since.
On September 29, the heated rivals will finally step into the ONE circle and compete for the title of undisputed heavyweight king.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.