On 13 October, the 24-year-old will take on Yushin “Thunder” Okami in a welterweight clash that could propel the man from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia back toward the top of his division.
The Monarchy MMA representative is coming off a thrilling win against Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama in June that has filled him with confidence, and he would love nothing more than to repeat his success and entertain the fans again at the biggest event in martial arts history.
Though he is up against a veteran of the sport with 49 professional bouts on his record, “Alligator” expects he can bridge the gap in experience and upset his opponent in his homeland.
Ahead of his assignment at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan, he reveals how excited he is to be part of such a momentous event and breaks down how he can get his hand raised.
ONE Championship: How does it feel to be part of this massive event?
Agilan Thani: I’m glad to be part of it. ONE: CENTURY is definitely the biggest card of the year, and one of the biggest martial arts events ever in history.
I like this new thing that they’re doing, where the event goes on from the morning to the evening.
ONE: Do you think it would be a struggle to compete in the morning?
AT: Not at all for me. It’ll be super awesome if I could fight in the morning and take the day off to enjoy all the other matches.
I’m excited just as everyone else around me is. I’m a fan of the sport, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the whole experience in Tokyo.
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ONE: What was your reaction when you received the offer to compete against Yushin “Thunder” Okami?
AT: I think I was just training or probably spending some time at home. It came somewhere around the end of August, but I knew that I was ready. I was already in a training camp mode.
I’ve been on this totally new system Coco [Conrado Furlan, Monarchy MMA Head Coach] and Professor Bruninho [Bruno Barbosa, Monarchy MMA BJJ Head Coach] had instilled for me. Coco has produced a lifting plan for me while Bruno keeps on guiding us to a new level on the mats.
I immediately said yes because I was ready to take on a new challenge.
ONE: What are your thoughts on taking on someone of Okami’s caliber?
AT: Competing against him will give me some goosebumps and nervousness. Sometimes I feel like retreating, but I think I’ve said enough to know that I have nothing to lose.
Everything is going to be on him. He’s coming off two losses, and he has to perform in front of the Japanese crowd. For me, this is a chance to test myself and do the best I can.
ONE: What are his biggest strengths that you will have to overcome?
AT: He has a very good ground game, that’s for sure. I’ve been watching most of his fights – especially the last two fights in ONE Championship – and all I can say is that he could be a dangerous opponent.
You have to take everything into consideration because Okami has seen it all. Maybe in his past two defeats, he wasn’t ‘there,’ and he was not able to pull the trigger. It could change on 13 October.
Sometimes it’s a good night, sometimes it’s a bad night. That’s how fighting works. At times, you may think like you have it all, everything is going well, and you are in peak shape, but your mind could play tricks with you on event night.
ONE: What have you learned from watching his previous bouts?
AT: The biggest thing that I’ve learned from watching Okami is that he may be having tough times, but he always comes prepared.
You can never guess when Okami will come to try and get the win from you. Besides, he will be performing in front of his fans. I’m just expecting the best version of him in Tokyo.
ONE: How do you see this bout ending?
AT: It’s hard for me to predict what will happen here, but I just want a win. A finish will obviously be nicer, but I don’t want to put any pressure on my shoulders.
The only thing in my head right now is to put in a good performance and leave with a great outcome.
ONE: Do you have any message for your opponent?
AT: My only message to him would be to perform at his best. I’d also like to thank Okami for taking this bout. It’s been a tough time for me and him, so all the fans watching this will be in for something spectacular.
ONE: What are your thoughts about traveling to Tokyo for the very first time?
AT: This event already got me excited, and for it to be in Tokyo just made it perfect. When ONE went to Tokyo for ONE: A NEW ERA, I was hoping I could be part of the event, then.
I’ve never been to Tokyo before, but I’ve always wanted to go there because Malaysians always say that it is such a cool and nice place. Now, it’s my turn to see it with my own eyes!
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.