: If there’s one thing Agilan 'Alligator' Thani discovered during his epic welterweight clash against Yoshihiro 'Sexy Yama' Akiyama, it was the Japanese-Korean’s warrior spirit.
Despite Agilan throwing everything in his arsenal, the 43-year-old refused to go down. His striking has gotten the better of several opponents in the past, but the Monarchy MMA representative realized that this was a whole new ball game.
“Akiyama could be 43, but he’s a legend for a reason. He’s achieved so much throughout his career, and he’s one of the biggest names in the business over here,” Agilan shared.
“He can take a punch, and immediately pop up back on his feet very easily. His determination to try and get a win was clear, but unfortunately for him, I won that night.”
The ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST co-main event in Shanghai, China on Saturday, 15 June got off to a scorcher, as Akiyama executed a perfectly-timed counter-takedown barely two minutes into the battle.
Despite influencing the match through his grappling and boxing, Thani was handed a tough test during the final minute of the second round.
Akiyama landed a couple of huge strikes, which rattled the Sentul native. However, Agilan’s counter punches and ring movement made it a bit harder for “Sexy Yama.”
“I was getting a bit tired during the end of that period, and he suddenly burst into action and hit me with several huge shots,” he recalled.
“He caught me with a huge right hand, which broke my nose. It was war during that period, and all I could do was to throw fists back.”
Another five minutes went by and after an engaging three-round battle, Agilan’s hand was raised in victory.
Before the result was read, however, both warriors paid respect to each other in the ring.
“After the fight, I thanked him and told him, ‘You’re the man,’” he joked.
“But when I met him afterward, I told him you’re a true warrior and that I respect him so much. He’s famous, made a name for himself, made a lot of money throughout his career, and didn’t have to accept this fight against me.
"He gave me a shot, and I’m happy. Thank you, Akiyama.”