ONE Championship welterweight Agilan Thani has the chance to end 2018 on a high note when he competes this Friday at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS, inside the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thani will take on Kyrgyzstan’s Kiamrian Abbasov in the evening’s co-main event, and while the Malaysian athlete is aware of the danger Abbasov poses, the 23-year-old is backing himself to get the win in front of his home crowd.
“I know he (Abbasov) is strong, and I would say he’s wild. He’s very wild,” Thani said in a recent interview with ONEFC.com. “I’m not sure what he thinks about me. He probably underestimates me because I have a smaller record and less experience.”
“I feel I have more ways to win, but you never know,” he continued. “I’m just looking forward to putting pressure in every aspect of this fight. That’s the key. Pressure. Some people break.”
Thani has had mixed success in 2018, adding both a win and a loss to his professional record. In his last outing, he fell to the now ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian Kadestam in their title eliminator.
During his bout with Kadestam, the “Alligator” had difficulty implementing his ground game and eventually lost via third-round stoppage. It was a disappointing defeat for the Malaysian but one that brought with it a silver lining.
Thani feels that the loss to the powerful Swede was a learning experience that has molded him into a better competitor.
“I learned quite a lot,” he said, opening up about his bout with Kadestam. “I learned that I have to be patient with what I do in the cage, not rush things, and prepare 100 percent for a big fight. You learn more from a loss than you do from a win.”
Thani is an athlete who is continuing to develop and improve and who manages to bring something new to the cage each time he competes. It will be interesting to see what gameplan he and his team have devised to combat Abbasov.
Abbasov comes from a boxing background and has had almost double the number of bouts that Thani has had. The 25-year-old is as confident on his feet as he is on the ground.
A victory over Abbasov would not only see Thani back in the winner’s column but would position him nicely for a possible title run in 2019.
“I’m going to go out there and put everything on the line,” Thani said about his clash with Abbasov. “I look forward to performing and putting on a show.”
Thani’s words will be music to the ears of the hometown fans who will fill the Axiata Arena this Friday. The year may also be over, but for Agilan Thani, there is still work to be done.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/5/2018.