Agilan Thani decisions Yoshihiro Akiyama in three-round slugfest at ONE: Legendary Quest

June 15, 2019

Yoshihiro Akiyama’s career has contained many highlights. But Saturday wasn’t one of them as the Japanese veteran found himself unable to cope with the early pace set by Malaysian welterweight Agilan Thani.

The contest at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai began with Thani on the front foot. He was relentless in his attacks and mixed up punches with takedown attempts, leaving the 43-year-old absolutely no breathing space.

To begin with Akiyama did a good job of stuffing the takedowns, but Thani kept coming forwards and was able to take the Japanese fighter’s back. Akiyama eventually twisted free but ate a knee to the groin on the break.

There was a question as to whether he would be able to continue, but after using all of the allotted five minutes he elected to soldier on. The break probably benefitted Thani, who swarmed all over him again with right hands and takedown attempts, getting the fight to the floor right on the bell.

At the start of the second stanza, Thani came out with a flying knee and Akiyama answered with a spinning back fist, but neither strike did any real damage. The Malaysian then trapped his opponent in the corner and dumped him to the ground only for the UFC veteran to fall out of the ropes.

The referee reset them in the same position and Akiyama was taken down instantly. At this stage Thani was in full control but breathing heavily and it became increasingly evident that the Malaysian welterweight was absolutely exhausted, despite the five-minute intermission.

Akiyama sensed an opportunity and started to move forwards more, but couldn’t land anything of note and the round finished with the two men exchanging tired punches. Both men seemed slightly reenergized at the start of the third and began to exchange punches.

Thani seemed to be getting the better of these exchanges with Akiyama looking bereft of ideas, although he did land a straight right. The fight finished with the Malaysian scoring a takedown and his early dominance made it an easy decision for the judges.

All three scored the fight for Thani, who improved to 9-3, while Akiyama dropped to 14-7. It will be interesting to see if the K-1, Dream and UFC veteran persists with his comeback after such an underwhelming return to the competitive stage.

Earlier in the night Koyomi Matsushima (11-3) outlasted Won Il Kwon (7-2) in a featherweight contest. It wasn’t quite as emphatic as the Japanese fighter’s knockout win over former champion Marat Gafurov, but it still underlined his title credentials.

In the ONE: Legendary Quest main event, Stamp Fairtex defended her ONE Atomweight Muay Thai championship with a unanimous-decision victory over Alma Juniku.

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ONE: Legendary Quest Fight Highlights & Recap

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ONE: Legendary Quest Full Results

  • Stamp Fairtex def. Alma Juniku via Decision (Unanimous) (Retains ONE Atomweight Muay Thai Title)
  • Agilan Thani def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Zhang Chenglong def. Tyler Hardcastle via KO (Punch) at 1:54 of round one 
  • Muay Thai: Han Zi Hao def. Andrew Miller via KO (Punch) at 2:36 of round two
  • Koyomi Matsushima def. Kwon Won Il via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Kickboxing: Tarik Khbabez def. Anderson Silva via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Reinier De Ridder def. Gilberto Galvao via TKO (Verbal Submission) at 0:57 of round two 
  • Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Liam Harrison via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Chen Lei def. Anthony Engelen via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Fan Rong def. Sherif Mohamed via TKO at 3:50 of round two (mixed martial arts — middleweight)
  • Niu Kang Kang def. Eric Kelly via unanimous decision (mixed martial arts — featherweight)
  • Yoon Chang Min def. Trestle Tan via TKO (Punches) at 4:05 of round one 
  • Itsuki Hirata def. Angelie Sabanal via Submission (Americana) at 2:59 of round one 
  • Phoe Thaw def. Victorio Senduk via KO (Punches) at 4:17 of round one