Agilan Thani picks his top ONE Championship moments
Astro Awani |
January 31, 2019 14:35 MYT
Agilan has established himself as one of the biggest names in Malaysias martial arts scene. - ONE photo
KUALA LUMPUR: It has been nearly four years since Agilan 'Alligator' Thani made his ONE Championship debut in his native Kuala Lumpur.
The Monarchy MMA representative has established himself as one of the biggest names in Malaysia’s martial arts scene, and he even challenged for the ONE Welterweight World Title in May 2017.
As he gears up for 2019, the 23-year-old shares his three favorite ONE Championship moments.
#1 His first ONE show
Then only an 18-year-old, Agilan had always wished to attend a ONE event.
His wish came true when he had a ticket to attend his coach's debut, Samir Mrabet, at ONE: Warrior Spirit in November 2013.
“I wasn’t signed to ONE Championship yet, but it was my first time watching a ONE event live,” he recalled.
“Samir’s match was the second of the night, and it was my first real introduction to ONE. I was amazed by how professional everything was, and I immediately knew where I wanted to be in my career one day.”
Mrabet, who is the owner of Monarchy MMA, went on to record a unanimous victory over Steven Durr.
“It was amazing,” Agilan continued. “Hearing the crowd and getting a feel of the atmosphere was unbelievable.”
#2 That match against Brad Robinson
In May 2016, 'Alligator' looked to keep his undefeated streak going against Brad Robinson at ONE: Ascent To Power.
This battle was Agilan’s first outside Malaysia, and the odds were stacked against him to return home from Singapore with a victory.
“It was my first match overseas, and it was surreal,” he said.
“People were rooting for him and I was the underdog, but I felt good, and I knew I would cause some trouble.”
Agilan, who used to be an overweight teen, went for his opponent as soon as the opening bell rang. Barely 30 seconds into the tilt, he hit a takedown.
Robinson was unable to match the Malaysian's power, and 'Alligator' continued his onslaught with two beautifully-timed right legs before securing another takedown.
It was one-way traffic from then on, as the American could not escape Agilan's ground and pound. The contest ended at 4:40 of the opening stanza.
“I bought a bag of popcorn after the win and just started munching on it throughout the night while enjoying the rest of the action,” he joked. “It felt as though I achieved something new that day.”
#3 The birth of the 'Alligator'
In March 2015, only five months after securing the MIMMA Welterweight Title, Agilan made his promotional debut at ONE: Age Of Champions in Kuala Lumpur against Indonesia’s Reant Febriza Rainir.
The athlete was full of confidence and did not waste time setting up a precise takedown through a right overhand and a clinch.
Agilan could not be stopped, and it was another ground and pound display from the Malaysian star before referee Joey Lepiten called a stop to the contest at 1:20 of round one.
“That win was so important to me,” he explained.
“I remember Mitch Chilson passing the microphone to me, and I was so scared. I just told the crowd I wanted to go to the toilet and pee. It was a funny and embarrassing moment.”