ONE 166: Qatar – Everything Fans Need to Know

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For the first time in a decade, ONE Championship returns to the Middle East, marking the occasion with a monumental event in Qatari history. ONE 166: Qatar takes over the Lusail Sports Arena on March 1st, featuring three highly anticipated MMA world title fights.

ONE 166

ONE 166 Main Event: De Ridder Seeks Revenge Against Malykhin in Middleweight Title Clash

The main event pits reigning ONE 166 Middleweight MMA World Champion Reinier de Ridder against two-division king Anatoly Malykhin in a highly personal rematch 15 months in the making. Their first encounter at ONE on Prime Video 5 saw Malykhin dismantle De Ridder in the first round, claiming the ONE Light Heavyweight MMA World Title and snapping the Dutchman’s 16-fight winning streak.

Malykhin continued his dominance, capturing the heavyweight crown from Arjan Bhullar at ONE 166 Friday Fights 22. Now, he aims to cement his legacy as the first-ever three-weight MMA king in a historic fight for Qatar.

“I’m ready for this Friday,” Malykhin declared at the pre-fight press conference. “I’m going to get my third belt. I’m going to knock him out the same way I did before.”

De Ridder, determined to reclaim his title and avenge his defeat, remains confident. “[This fight] is about one thing – he beat me last time, he hurt me,” De Ridder stated. “I’ve had a year to prepare for this, I grinded every single day, and I’m ready to showcase my skills this time.”

Featherweight Title Fight: Tang Kai and Thanh Le Collide in Undisputed Title Unification

The co-main event features a featherweight title fight for the ages, with undisputed champion Tang Kai facing off against interim champion Thanh Le. This highly anticipated bout marks Tang’s return to action after defeating Le to claim the gold at ONE 160. Unfortunately, injuries have sidelined the Chinese phenom since then, but he seeks a decisive victory against the Vietnamese-American in his first fight in 18 months.

Le, having secured the interim title with a submission victory over Ilya Freymanov at ONE 166 Fight Night 15, is ready to reclaim the undisputed crown he once held. Both fighters are known for their finishing prowess, promising an explosive encounter for the undisputed title.

Strawweight Title Bout: Brooks and Pacio Rekindle Heated Rivalry

The first of three world title fights features a highly anticipated rematch between ONE Strawweight MMA World Champion Jarred Brooks and former champion Joshua Pacio. Their first encounter at ONE 164 was marked by Brooks’ trash talk, which may have impacted Pacio’s performance. Ultimately, the American emerged victorious with a unanimous decision, taking the gold back to the US.

Since then, Pacio has undergone significant improvements to his skillset, securing a convincing win over Mansur Malachiev and earning his position as the #1 contender. This rematch promises a thrilling showdown as they settle their rivalry on the grand stage.

Beyond the Title Fights: A Star-Studded Card Awaits

The ONE 166: Qatar card boasts additional noteworthy matchups featuring prominent Middle Eastern athletes. Heavyweight MMA star Amir Aliakbari seeks a shot at the world title with a win over former divisional king Bhullar. Additionally, decorated Saudi Arabian submission grappling specialist Osamah Almarwai returns to the ONE circle against Brazilian Cleber Sousa. The winner of this clash could potentially secure a second fight against ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey Musumeci.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s most successful boxer, Zuhayr Al-Qahtani, will put his undefeated record on the line against veteran kickboxer Mehdi Zatout in a captivating striking contest. This ONE 166 event promises to be a historic night for ONE Championship and a treat for fans around the globe.

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