Anatoly Malykhin (ONE Championship)

ONE 166: Qatar Preview and Predictions

ONE 166, live from Qatar, is a story of fighters seeking revenge. Anatoly Malykhin will look to take the middleweight world title from Reinier de Ridder, while “The Dutch Knight” looks to avenge his lone career loss.

The featherweight world title will also be on the line as interim king, and former world champion, Thanh Le looks to reclaim his throne against China’s Tang Kai. The American-Vietnamese striker Le will look to get revenge after losing his title last year.

“The Passion” Joshua Pacio will again face “The Monkey God” Jarred Brooks with the strawweight crown up for grabs. The Filipino-born Pacio was the long-reigning division world champion until the American wrestler took hold of the belt.


ONE 166: Qatar airs live on Amazon Prime Video starting at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Anatoly Malykhin handed Reinier de Ridder his first professional loss; can “The Dutch Knight” get revenge this week in the rematch?

Russia’s Anatoly Malykhin is a hard-hitting slugger. Training out of Tiger Muay Thai, he is a knockout machine with heavy hands. Reinier de Ridder, former two-division champion, has an exact opposite style, as a highly skilled submission specialist. Malykhin has a 75-percent knockout-win rate, while de Ridder has the exact same ratio for submission wins.

In their prior meeting, the Dutch-born de Ridder seemed to struggle with the thunderous power from the two-divison champ “Sladkiy.” To add, Malykhin is a seasoned grappler who picked up multiple national titles in freestyle wrestling. It’s not just his powerful hands, but also his takedown defense and grappling acumen that makes the Russian athlete so dangerous.

The Dutch Knight will need to take the initiative and get the fight to the ground as fast as possible, if he wants to retain his middleweight crown. Surviving the striking onslaught and securing the takedown are a lot easier said than done. It seems likely that Malykhin will become a three-division king at ONE 166.

Tang Kai and Thanh Le met over a year ago with Tang scoring a unanimous decision victory; does Le have what it takes to reclaim the belt he once held?

The American-Vietnamese athlete Thanh Le is a smart and powerful striker. He has an incredible 86-percent win rate via knockout. The striker is dangerous with each limb and has shown a clear ability to game-plan. China’s Tang Kai was able to take the title from Le in a closely-contested, five-round war.

Tang was able to out-point Le over five rounds, grinding down the American’s cardio with powerful leg kicks which made all the difference. He has a background in Taekwondo, and his kicks are delivered with speed and power.

In their second title match, it will be a matter of game-planning to earn the win. Each striker will need to show improvement and planning from the last bout. Will Kai’s youth overcome the veteran game of Le? Le is likely to have drilled and planned ahead of this match, and, while close, I see him getting a nod in this one having made the micro-adjustments.

Jarred Brooks took a unanimous decision win over Joshua Pacio the first time the pair faced off; does this fight have a more definitive outcome?

“The Monkey God” Jarred Brooks ran through the strawweight division and took the world title, showing the power of American wrestling. Brooks stopped Lito Adiwang, atraining partner of Pacio, then defeated Pacio to capture the division crown.

It has long been a weakness of Team Lakay that their wrestling leaves much to be desired. It began as a Wushu gym and has produced incredibly talented strikers and many world champions. However, wrestling remains a blind spot for this Filipino-based gym. To counter this, Pacio started his own gym, with Eduard Folayang, Lions Nation MMA, and brought in a new Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach just over the past few months.

Wrestling is one of the hardest games to counter. Brooks was able to tag him on the feet, because of the takedown threat, and control Pacio on the ground when they initially met. Brooks will almost certainly win the rematch and retain his title. It’s just a matter of whether he will do it by way of knockout or submission. If I am wrong, I will eat nothing but adobo for a week.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

Zuhayr “The Arabian Warrior” Al-Qahtani boasts a perfect 9-0 record in professional boxing. At ONE 166, he will face Muay Thai veteran Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout in a boxing match. The Saudi Arabian boxer will look to put on a show for many new viewers worldwide, while the Algerian striker plans to prove himself in another striking art. It is likely to be fireworks.


FightWheaton’s Pick
Fight Card
MW championship: Reinier de Ridder vs. Anatoly MalykhinMalykhin
FW championship: Tang Kai vs. Thanh LeLe
SW championship: Jarred Brooks vs. Joshua PacioBrooks
HW: Arjan Bhullar vs. Amir AliakbariAliakbari
CW Muay Thai: Zuhayr Al-Qahtani vs. Mehdi ZatoutAl-Qahtani
FW Sub: Osamah Almarwai vs. Cleber SousaSousa
CW Muay Thai: Zafer Sayik vs. Vladimir KuzminKuzmin
CW Muay Thai: Zakaria El Jamari vs. Ali SaldoevSaldoev
BW Muay Thai: Shinji Suzuki vs. Han Zi HaoZi Hao
SW: Keito Yamakita vs. Jeremy MiadoMiado