Hong Kong striker Alain “The Panther” Ngalani will return to action on 23 June at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER as he makes his ONE Super Series debut.
Ngalani will take on Moroccan-Dutch world champion Tarik Khbabez in Macau in a kickboxing contest that promises to deliver fireworks inside the Studio City Event Center.
For 42-year-old Ngalani, it is an opportunity to return to his kickboxing roots and focus on the striking arts. It will be a change from the all-encompassing mixed martial arts ruleset of the ONE Championship matches he has devoted his time to in the past few years.
“It feels good. It feels like I am coming back to my first love,” he says.
“I remember how I left things – winning world championships in kickboxing – and now I am really excited to come back and grab another world title.
“I have a lot of things to prove to myself, and I am looking forward to it.”
Ngalani, who has a career record of 25-7-1 (2 NC) in striking-only competition, returns to kickboxing after a seven-year absence against Khbabez, a two-time Superkombat Heavyweight World Champion, who boasts a career record of 42-5-1 in professional kickboxing.
It’s a stern test for the Cameroon-born veteran, but it’s one he’s excited to meet head-on.
“I have watched a few things on him, and I see that he has a very aggressive style. He likes to box and move forward, and that is okay for me,” he explains.
“He will come at me straight away to land the punches, but I am prepared to weather that and use all of my strikes. I have the right training and training partners to prepare for him.”
Ngalani’s main weapon in MMA has always been his striking, but he has often had to temper his enthusiasm to let loose because he has to be prepared for takedown attempts.
With no such worries in his upcoming ONE Super Series bout with Khbabez, Ngalani is excited to be able to step into a striking-only contest and throw his shots with full conviction.
“I will be able to trade comfortably without the worry of the takedown,” he enthuses.
“No one is going to try and take me down, so I can relax, and I will be able to come out and throw my punches and my kicks as much as I want.”
“There is going to be a lot of sparks. People will see an exciting bout!”