ONE Championship Sets up an Interim Title Bout Amidst Contract Disputes With Champion Arjan Bhullar

Published 12/28/2021, 4:30 AM EST


ONE Championship’s heavyweight title fight will not involve the current champion Arjan Bhullar. Instead, the Asia-based international MMA promotion announced that they’ll be introducing an interim belt.

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This interim title fight will go down on the ONE: Only the Brave card on January 28, 2022, which is likely to take place in Singapore. According to the promotion’s CEO, they approached the current champion with multiple offers, but to no avail.

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ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong, in a statement to SCMP, said, “Arjan and his management team have declined multiple offers to defend the ONE heavyweight world championship under his current contract. 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.” 

Bhullar has been out of action since April when he won the title. He defeated Brandon Vera via TKO in the second round to get his hands on the gold. The former UFC fighter is currently on a four-fight win streak and is 2-0 in his current promotion.

Since the current champion will be on the sidelines for some time, Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko will go at each other to win the interim belt. Malykhin is currently 9-0 in his career, with two of those wins coming in the current promotion. He is coming off a devastating first-round KO win over Amir Aliakbari in his last fight.

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Grishenko is also an undefeated fighter and has a 5-0 record. He is also 2-0 in ONE Championship and is coming off a win over Dustin Joynson in October.

The same agency as Francis Ngannou represents Arjan Bhullar

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CAA Combat Sports represents the current ONE Championship heavyweight champion, Arjan Bhullar. The same agency represents the current UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. ‘The Predator’, right now, is scheduled to face Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in a title unification bout.

Ngannou himself is in a contract dispute with the UFC. He only has one fight left in his contract and talk of a new contract being signed is not there yet. UFC President Dana White, in a recent interview, said that Ngannou hasn’t had the best representation.

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Both ONE Championship and Bhullar would be hoping to sort out the contract issues soon as the champion being out for long holds up the division.

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Arunaditya Aima

471 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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