Agilan Thani VS Yoshihiro Akiyama
It has been a daunting road for our Alligator Agilan Thani, from dealing with injuries to the road back into competition, arduous is a fitting sentiment Agilan faced off against Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, a 7 fight veteran of the UFC with 3 “Fight of the Night” achievements, an accomplished Judoka with several Gold medals to his name and experience fighting well known names of the sport.
Agilan Thani was unfazed as he has met competition of such caliber before. However, with Agilan and his opponent both making a come back, the stakes were high.
Agilan and Akiyama looked to show where they stand.
In terms of styles, The Alligator wants to pull you into his waters, from his constant forward pressure to his ability to pressure with a variety of strikes to setup big takedowns, Agilan lives up to his moniker by ruthlessly draggig you to the ground with violent ground and pound. A recurring theme across Agilan’s career has always been the pressure and variety as he works tirelessly with his coaches Conrado and Dmitri as well as JC to constantly improve and vary his striking prowess.
Standing across our Alligator is Sexyama, stylistically, Akiyama uses his Judo defensively to get top control and unless ground and pound, a brawler by nature, Akiyama has shown skill with harai goshi, kosoto gake and ouchi gari/osoto gari combinations, as well as the more complex uchi mata in his previous bouts and to a certain extent may act as a foil to Alligator’s gameplan.
As both men face off, Round 1 begins with a good right cross from Agilan at the opening stanza, as Agilan attempts to body clinch, Akiyama manages to counter Agilan with a Harai Goshi - “hip throw”, Agilan quickly recovers as he scrambles back on his feet (4.37), Round 1 has a story for Agilan as he wants to close the distance to clinch up and drag Akiyama into deep waters, from minutes (4.10 to 3.45) Agilan attempt several takedowns that were masked by a variety of punches and kicks, while Akiyama defended it soundly, Agilan was able to sneak in one or two knees to the head upon the break. The middle parts of Round 1 were more of the same from Agilan but at minutes (2.40), Agilan pressure forward and draws out an exchange which he replies with a bodylock at the ropes, Agilan takes him down but narrowingly loses top position but recovers and proceeds to ragdoll Akiyama. The end of Round 1 (0.20) saw Agilan switch stances effortlessly while moving in to pressure, high kicks and punches mask the big takedown that comes of the shot as Agilan ends the round with a big takedown.
Round 2, Agilan plays the second round more on the back foot as he utilizes a variety of punches and kicks to maintain striking distance, judging from the outlook of the opening frame, Agilan seems to have the upper advantage in striking exchanges. A good jumping knee and left hook (4.25) blitz from Agilan touches Akiyama who replies later on with a spinning back fist. Agilan landing more in Round 2 compared to Round 1. Agilan switches up his stance to open up new angles of attack and goes in for another combination chain into a double leg (3.00) but unfortunately Akiyama FALLS OUT OF THE RING! As they reset, Agilan looks to ragdoll Thani with the back bodylock. Agilan brings Akiyama for a ride multiple times before they stand up and Agilan exchanges more punches with Akiyama. From minutes (1.15) to the end of Round 2 Agilan is on the receiving end of the pressure from Akiyama but still fires back some venomous strikes of his own as Akiyama ends the Round 2 with forward momentum.
The fight seems pretty close at the end of Round 2 but Agilan still seems to have landed more accurately and has the higher output of strikes. Agilan has to dig down deep and end the 3rd Round in a big way.
Round 3, as the bell sounds, both fighters show some respect to one another as they begin in the center. Agilan despite slowing down in Round 3 still has some sting and snap in his punches. (4.20) Akiyama lands a big spinning back kick to Agilan’s body. Agilan looking for head shots with crisp punches. It becomes more of a striking competition in Round 3 as Agilan lands from both otrhodox and southpaw stances. The middle of the round saw exchanges back and forth, as both Akiyama and Agilan are both landing punches with Agilan seeming to a land more in the exchanges. (1.00) the final sixty seconds saw an exchange with Agilan landing a nice left hand from southpaw stance as Agilan pressures he shoots in but is defended by Akiyama. A spinning back fist from Akiyama at (0.30) catches Agilan and both of them exchange toe to toe. Agilan landing punches and kicks as Akiyama returns some punches but just before the bell rings, Agilan manages to score a takedown.
What a fight! We have a lot of respect for Akiyama as he brought out the best in Agilan that night. As the fight closes, Agilan shows his sportsmanship by paying a respectful embrace.
After three rounds, the Unanimous Decision victory foes to Agilan Thani and from our perspective, this fight could have gone either way to the layman but Agilan’s accuracy, striking variety as well as his ability to dig deep into his heart shows that here at Monarchy, we teach heart.