Agilan Thani in his element - Pic courtesy of ONE Championship

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian mixed martial arts sensation and former ONE World Title challenger Agilan “Alligator” Thani is set to make his highly-anticipated return to action opposite Japanese veteran Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama. The pair will lock horns at ONE: Legendary Quest, which will take place on June 15 at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.

Agilan, who appeared in good spirits during a special meet-with-media-and-fans session today at Monarchy MMA Gym in Kuala Lumpur, confided: “I’ve prepared very well and made some adjustments to my camp. Right now, I feel 100 per cent and very healthy. I’m coming back stronger than ever before.”

Continuing, the ONE athlete added that he intends to make his fans in Malaysia and all over the world proud of him. Eyes shining, he shared: “I’ve worked very hard to improve all aspects of my game. Most importantly, my confidence right now is extremely high. I know I’m going to take on a legend in Yoshihiro Akiyama, but I’m ready to face whatever challenges he brings to the table. I don’t expect this fight to be easy, but I promise I’m going to be the best version of Agilan Thani possible on fight night.”

The former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger is one of the most remarkable athletes Malaysia has ever produced. Ever since making his debut, the man they call “Alligator” has torn through the competition. Undefeated as an amateur, Agilan captured a Malaysian national championship before turning professional, winning six bouts in a row on the global stage of ONE Championship to earn a shot at Ben Askren’s coveted title.

Conquests aside, it has to be said that Agilan’s most notable achievement probably took place outside of the Circle. As a child, the 23-year-old struggled with obesity, and weighed almost 140kg at one point. This led to him being mercilessly bullied, prompting him to seek martial arts training to lose weight and learn how to defend himself. This proved to be a life-changing decision – he successfully shed an incredible 55kg in the space of a single year by training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other disciplines, transforming himself from an overweight teenager to an elite athlete.

To this day, the top contender still trains daily at Monarchy MMA in Kuala Lumpur under well-respected Belgian BJJ coach Samir Mrabet, but also regularly travels to the United States to sharpen his skills at the world-famous Team Quest in hopes of capturing the ONE Welterweight World Championship.

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