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Agilan Thani Suprised But Happy To Welcome Akiyama To ONE

May 31, 2019

Agilan “Alligator” Thani did not expect to be facing Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST.

The Malaysian hero presumed he would face someone with a lower profile as he began to climb the welterweight ladder back up to the second World Title shot of his career.

However, ONE Championship matchmakers thought the 23-year-old would be the perfect foil for the debuting Japanese mixed martial arts star, and this pairing of all-action athletes should create an unmissable co-main event contest.

Two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex defends her ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title against Australia's hottest striking sensation, Alma Juniku! Plus, the ONE debut of martial arts superstar Yoshihiro "Sexy Yama" Akiyama!

15 JUNE IN SHANGHAI! Two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex defends her ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title against Australia's hottest striking sensation, Alma Juniku! Plus, the ONE debut of martial arts superstar Yoshihiro "Sexy Yama" Akiyama!: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/onequest19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, 27 May 2019

“At first I was surprised and a bit scared, but after looking at my preparation throughout the camp, I think I’m ready to take this guy on, and I want to give him a fight,” Thani says.

The Kuala Lumpur native admits he has not been at his best in his last two bouts, but he is confident that after surgery and the ability to bring a new intensity to his training, he will be back to his best.

Now he has regained his confidence and developed a more positive mindset, the “Alligator” is prepared to put on a show in Shanghai, China.

“Something that I learned throughout my time off and throughout the times that I lost is that my opinion is the most important opinion,” he says.

“If I keep asking everybody’s opinion, they’re gonna say, ‘Oh, you’re not ready, you’re not going to do this, you’re not going to beat Akiyama.’

“I wake up every morning, and I just tell myself, ‘Hey look, I’m gonna beat Akiyama, and that’s the deal you made.’ I’m making the deal to myself every day saying, ‘If I don’t beat this guy, at least I’m going to give him a fight.’

“I gotta keep saying to myself that I’m going to beat Akiyama, and if I don’t, I’ll try again.”

What are the odds Agilan "Alligator" Thani STOPS Yoshihiro Akiyama on 15 June?

What are the odds Agilan "Alligator" Thani STOPS Yoshihiro Akiyama on 15 June? : Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/onequest19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Akiyama has competed all over the world against some of the best mixed martial arts athletes who have ever lived, and although he is a master judoka, he is known for going into contests with all guns blazing.

However, Thani has no fear of his upcoming opponent. He respects what he will bring to the ring at the Baoshan Arena on Saturday, 15 June, but he believes he will have a way to overcome it.

“He’s very athletic and very strong, that’s for sure. He has the Japanese mentality – like a go-to-war kind of mentality,” the Malaysian explains.

“I think I think he has a lot of strengths. His experience is number one because of fighting so many high-level guys for a very long period of time. He’s not afraid to stand up or get taken down. His judo will be the key in this match, but I believe my BJJ grappling is better.

“I look at it as a decision or submission [for me]. I don’t want to think of anything fancy and strategic, but if it comes down to one situation, I’d love to put him up against the fence and finish the bout. That’s my strength.” 

Before Agilan "Alligator" Thani takes on Yoshihiro " Sexy Yama" Akiyama on 15 June, relive every win in his ONE career!

Before Agilan "Alligator" Thani takes on Yoshihiro " Sexy Yama" Akiyama on 15 June, relive every win in his ONE career!: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/onequest19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Another significant dynamic for this bout is the fact that “Sexy Yama” is 20 years’ Thani’s senior, but the Monarchy MMA representative does not believe that will give him much of an advantage.

“Alligator” knows his rival is in phenomenal condition, and on the global stage for martial arts, age is just a number. The organization’s World Champions range from 20 to 41, so he expects Akiyama to bring the same fire as any of his other adversaries.

“He’s 43 now, but he’s still much more ripped than me,” he laughs.

“Most of the guys I fought at ONE Championship are older than me, and they’ve put in a good performance against me. I cannot underestimate him. He may be past his prime, but there might be a new motivation for him.

“Hey Akiyama, I know you’re a sexy guy, but I hope you bring your A-game for me!”

Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/onequest19