The next heavyweight title fight in ONE Championship will not involve the current champ in Arjan Bhullar.
Bhullar became the new champion back in April of this year with a TKO win over Brandon Vera in the second-round. However, since then, there has been no word on when he will fight again, and according to ONE Championship CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, Bhullar has turned down multiple offers to defend his belt. With that, the promotion has created an interim heavyweight title between Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko. The fight will serve as the main event of ONE: Only The Brave card, which is likely to take place in Singapore on January 28.
“Arjan and his management team have declined multiple offers to defend the ONE heavyweight world championship under his current contract,” Chatri Sityodtong, the ONE Championship CEO, told South China Morning Post. “While this plays out, the show must go on in our heavyweight division, so we will be crowning an interim world champion between top contenders Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko.”
Anatoly Malykhin (10-0) is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Amir Aliakbari in September, it was his second win in ONE Championship. In his debut, he scored a first-round TKO victory over Alexandre Machado in March. Prior to signing with ONE, he was competing in Russia for different promotions.
Kirill Grishenko (5-0) is also 2-0 in ONE and coming off a decision win over Dustin Joynson back in October which was an impressive win. His other win in ONE was a TKO win over Omar Kane aka Reug Reug in a controversial finish as Reug Reug complained about it being a late shot to the neck.
With ONE Championship creating an interim heavyweight title, Arjan Bhullar (11-1) will be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. He’s 2-0 in ONE and before signing with the promotion, went 3-1 in the UFC and left the Las Vegas-based promotion on a two-fight winning streak.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime