Alain “The Panther” Ngalani’s all-action style has made him one of the most popular athletes in ONE Championship.
On Friday, 8 March, he makes his return to The Home Of Martial Arts and promises to deliver another explosive performance.
The Hong Kong native is scheduled to meet former ONE Heavyweight World Title challenger Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli in a mixed martial arts bout at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR in Yangon, Myanmar, and when the two colossal knockout artists collide in the middle of the cage, sparks will fly.
“This will be exciting. The fans know that,” the 43-year-old hulk states.
“Heavyweight bouts can also be so unpredictable. It’s always very exciting when you see two powerful guys exchanging blows.
“I am not someone who goes in there and has a boring fight. I go in there to please the crowd, and that’s what I intend to do in Myanmar.”
After becoming a four-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing Heavyweight World Champion, Ngalani made the switch to mixed martial arts in 2013 and faced some of the sport’s best athletes.
Though he competed in a couple of kickboxing bouts for the promotion’s all-striking branch ONE Super Series in 2018, “The Panther” is excited to get back to the sport that has motivated him for the past six years.
“It is awesome to be performing again very soon, and especially in mixed martial arts,” he says. “This is what I was looking for, so I’m happy with that.”
The last time the hulk competed under the global rule set was 12 months ago.
Ngalani is coming off a win against Ariunbold Tur-Ochir in their light heavyweight clash at ONE: IRON WILL, and although it was the first time the Hong Kong resident went the distance in his ONE career, it was a fulfilling performance.
The veteran striker displayed his increasingly well-rounded game against the Mongolian and now, a year removed from that split decision victory, he believes that he has made further strides toward becoming the total package.
“I’ve been working a lot on making sure that my groundwork and mixed martial arts game is complete,” he explains.
“That has been my challenge, but I’ve been working hard with a great team at Impakt [Academy of Mixed Martial Arts].
“I’m seeing these changes [in the gym], and I am excited about it. I’m very confident that my game has improved a lot, and I look forward to showing that.”
Cerilli is a formidable adversary.
The Italian came up short against Brandon “The Truth” Vera in his World Title challenge last November, but he had won his previous five contests — four of them by knockout — and claimed the Cage Warriors Heavyweight Title before entering ONE.
Ngalani is taking “The Hammer” very seriously, as he knows he could only be one impressive victory away from getting a crack at the gold.
“He is a strong fighter from what I saw. Well-rounded, too,” he offers.
“I will never underestimate any opponent. We are working on all possibilities and working on everything so we cannot be surprised.
“A win against Mauro at this point will solidify a match against Brandon Vera, or [ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion] Aung La N Sang.”
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Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, February 1, 2019
Still, that would not be enough for “The Panther.”
He wants to win in style, all while showcasing his constant progress and breaking his opponent down.
That’s not a wish list for Ngalani. He has put in the necessary work inside the gym walls, and his payoff is to delight the thousands of fans inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
“I’m not looking to rush anything, but if I have an opportunity to finish it, then I will. If not, I will take it round by round,” he reveals.
“I want to own it, I want to have fun, and I want to push the pace. That’s what I am planning to do.”