Agilan “Alligator” Thani earned a big win to close 2019 in style.
Earlier this month at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian welterweight edged out undefeated American newcomer Dante Schiro in a back-and-forth thriller.
Thani, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, was able to hold his own against Schiro, a notable wrestler, for most of three rounds. He used a stout grappling game plan to smother the American en route to a split-decision victory.
Despite the win, the 24-year-old walked away from the bout with several takeaways.
“It was supposed to be a fight that I wanted to dominate from start to finish, but I did not manage to do it. I was a bit sloppy here and there, and I rushed too much. But it is okay,” he said.
“I learn new things every time, and I picked up something new from this fight too. I’ve got a lot of things to work on, as usual. I realized that I am giving my back away too easily, and this is something I really need to change moving forward.”
Thani started 2019 on a high note, as he returned from back surgery to topple Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama via unanimous decision in June.
However, just months later in October, the Malaysian’s dreams of a winning streak were snapped after a close split-decision loss to Japanese icon Yushin “Thunder” Okami.
His timely win against Schiro was a welcome respite from a whirlwind year, and Thani is now ready to start 2020 on solid footing.
“I came back from surgery and won two fights. I don’t have easy fights anymore – I battled against former champions, current champions, and dangerous newcomers,” he said.
“Now I want to go home and rest so I don’t re-injure myself and injure other stuff as well.”
This victory also helped the local hero put aside any fears of competing in his home country, especially since his past two matches in Malaysia did not go his way.
“I had a really big phobia fighting here because I lost my last two matches. I was nervous, but I kept my cool. The moment I saw the stadium fully packed, I could hear everyone cheering very loudly,” he said.
“In short, it feels good to win in Kuala Lumpur again.”
Thani will heal up and resume his hunt for the welterweight gold, and he promises to be a better version of himself the next time he steps into the ring.
“First, I need to rest. After that, I want to work on every skill and aspect of the sport,” he said.
“Then, I want to come back and fight the top guys in my division.”
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