Fan favorite Alain “The Panther” Ngalani and undefeated rising star Thomas “The Last Viking” Narmo don’t like to waste time, with 13 of their 15 combined professional mixed martial arts bouts ending in the first round.
That means fans can expect the action to come thick and fast when these heavyweight contenders collide at ONE: BATTLEGROUND II, which airs this Friday, 13 August.
Here are the keys to victory for both sides in this colossal showdown at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
#1 Narmo Closing The Distance
While the 200-centimeter Narmo will have a significant reach advantage over his 180-centimeter rival, it might not be the best idea to strike at range with “The Panther.”
Ngalani is a multiple-time Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion, and he’ll make those long-distance exchanges difficult for the unbeaten Norwegian.
“The Last Viking” should still be assertive with his jab, but ideally, those shots would force the Cameroon-born star to back up and create opportunities to engage in the clinch.
Doing so would take away many of Ngalani’s biggest assets and allow the hulking Narmo to bear his weight down and use hard knees and strikes on the inside to tire his foe out.
Given how tall he is, Narmo has difficulty shooting for takedowns. However, his trips and body locks are much more effective, and he can also use his height advantage to attack for guillotines, meaning the clinch offers him a lot of offensive opportunities.
#2 Ngalani’s Striking Composure
“The Panther” must try to avoid close quarters as much as possible. He certainly has the tools to do it, along with explosive counters that can make a chasing rival pay.
Ngalani’s footwork will be key in keeping him out of Narmo’s grasp, and by using lateral and linear movements, he could avoid the clinch and stay away from the Circle Wall.
Moreover, the veteran Ngalani will be able to keep his cool as he moves away, while potentially causing the less experienced “Viking” to get frustrated.
If the African can force Narmo to overreach, he can still generate incredible knockout power from the back foot – something fans witnessed in his matchup with former ONE World Title challenger Hideki “Shrek” Sekine.
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#3 Narmo’s Relentless Ground-And-Pound
Narmo attacks with ferocity whenever he’s on top, so if he can trip or bundle “The Panther” to the canvas, expect the floodgates to open up immediately.
The Norwegian’s punches and elbows come down at a furious pace, leaving the opponent underneath without much time to set up their escapes. And even if Ngalani does work back to his feet, that physically draining task will wear him down.
While neither man is known for their endurance — given their penchant for fast finishes — the athlete who constantly takes on weight and works hard to escape will tire more quickly, which lends another advantage to this position for Narmo.
For his part, Ngalani has fallen victim to ground-and-pound assaults in the past, so a precedent has been set for “The Last Viking,” who will be able to utilize his size and weight from top position.
#4 Ngalani’s Stunning Kicks
Regardless of every other factor in this fight, Ngalani only needs a split second to dramatically change the course of any matchup.
More than any other strike, his kicks can take an opponent by surprise, as he delivers them at a speed that’s rarely seen in the heavyweight ranks.
The Impakt Academy man suggested it would be a challenge to hit the gigantic Norwegian with his high kicks, but his flexibility and athleticism are unrivaled, and fans already know that he’s capable of finding the mark.
Given that Ngalani’s high round kicks and spinning kicks can both reach incredible heights, Narmo will not be out of danger.