Alain “The Panther” Ngalani likes to keep his eyes on the competition.
The veteran heavyweight makes sure that he’s always up to date with the contenders in his division – just in case their paths cross at some point.
With that in mind, “The Panther” has been doing his homework on the scheduled matchup between burgeoning contenders Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and “Mighty Warrior” Kang Ji Won at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS on Friday, 3 December.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend “Buchecha” impressed with a first-round submission win over Anderson “Braddock” Silva in his mixed martial arts debut at ONE: REVOLUTION this past September, while Kang has maintained a perfect 5-0 slate with back-to-back knockout victories inside the Circle.
They’ll collide at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to decide which heavyweight star will take the next step up the ladder, and “The Panther” can’t wait to see how it pans out.
“It’s very interesting, it’s the classic striker versus grappler,” Ngalani offers.
“Obviously, if ‘Buchecha’ takes it to the ground and drowns Kang Ji, then that’s it, right? But if Kang Ji manages to keep it standing up, he might be able to get an upset.
“As I say, it’s the all-time classic, striker versus grappler, so I’m very curious and very excited to see what could – or what’s going to – happen.”
However, the Cameroonian icon is not just a competitor. He’s also a fan who appreciates the work of all of the martial artists who ply their trade in ONE Championship.
Ngalani enjoys watching both of the atomweight contenders, but despite his own proclivity for the striking game, he believes a wrestler will ultimately prevail in the tournament finale.
“That’s also a very interesting fight. I think Ritu is very smart. I think that she is probably going to take this,” he says.
“She’s probably going to manage to bring Stamp to the ground. Stamp’s groundwork has improved tremendously, but still, I think Ritu will be able to cause her trouble downstairs.
“She can probably take it to the ground and drown her there.”
“The Panther” was correct in his prediction for Superbon’s shocking World Title victory over kickboxing GOAT Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan at ONE: FIRST STRIKE last month, and he’ll hope to keep his streak of picks alive when the athletes step into the Circle on 3 December.
As for his own next move, nothing is set in stone yet for Ngalani, but the ageless hulk hopes to be back in action against a top heavyweight contender in the first quarter of 2022.