Alain Ngalani Can’t Wait To Welcome Vitor Belfort To ONE Championship
Alain Ngalani has found a new lease of life as he prepares to take on former UFC legend Vitor Belfort.
The bout will mark Belfort’s highly anticipated debut in ONE Championship, having signed with the promotion last year, and will end his two year hiatus from active competition. Both fighters are coming off losses, as well as lengthy breaks. Ngalini lost to former Cage Warriors heavyweight champion Mauro Cerilli, at ONE: Reign of Valor just over one year ago. While Vitor succumbed to a a powerful head kick knockout from Lyoto Machida, way back at UFC 224.
Speaking to BJPenn.com, Ngalani expressed his excitement surrounding his fight with Belfort.
“Vitor Belfort is a legend, there’s no denying that. To me it’s a privilege to meet him in ONE Championship. I’m looking to redeem myself and this fight is bringing me a lot of excitement. It brings the motivation and lights a new fire in me.
“We as fighters go through a lot. We go through injuries, we go through ups and downs, and sometimes we lose ourselves. You lose yourself, and you’re there but you’re not there. You’re lacking that fire, you’re lacking that thing you need to identify and find yourself again. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity because it’s bringing joy to my training, it’s bringing excitement, it’s bringing the fire, and that’s what I needed. I needed something to wake me up.”
Despite Ngalani’s enthusiasm, taking on ‘The Phenom’ will be no small task. Belfort’s most memorable success came in 2015, when he finished Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson all inside of 12 months.
However, this fight is alleged to take place under a ‘special set of rules’ that the former VIP bodyguard Ngalini, believes will favour his Muay Thai striking style.
“The rules will be altered,” he said. “If we base it on striking, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Most recently, Belfort has been fighting at middleweight, while Ngalini has predominantly been competing at heavyweight. If the bout does take place at heavyweight, ‘The Panther’ may have a natural advantage.
“I can see his training [on social media],” Ngalani said. “I can see he’s training with some big, tough guys, and that’s good for him.
“My size hasn’t changed,” he added. “I’m naturally this size. I’m very comfortable walking around at this weight, and I think that’s an advantage for me. I’m not forcing it.”
At 45 years old and with a record of 4-5-1, Alain recognises that he will be the underdog going into the fight.
“They can only motivate me,” Ngalani said. “I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard a lot of negative comments, and so on, and fair enough. You know, I went into MMA just to have fun and compete and challenge myself, and sometimes I felt, in my last few fights, that I wasn’t there. There were also injuries that I was dealing with. [All of that] brought my record to what it is, and it’s not in my favour, and it doesn’t reflect greatly on me.
“I can understand people saying negative things about me, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I remain who I am. I remain dangerous, I remain athletic. I remain a very capable knockout artist.”
Regardless of his opponent’s combat sports history, Ngalani remains focused on the task at hand. The Hong Kong resident views Belfort as the biggest test of his fighting career.
“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “It’s one of those rare moments where you have an opportunity, and you go out there and you do what you do best. This is what I do best. I love this sport, and a moment like that (beating Belfort), I can’t imagine. I’m so excited that words can’t describe it.
“I respect Vitor. He’s a great athlete. But at the end of the day, we’re going to go out there and draw swords. After that, I’ll still have 100 percent respect for him, no matter the outcome of the fight, but I’m going there to take that [win].”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, no date or location has been discussed for the bout yet.
Who do you think gets their hand raised when Alain Ngalani welcomes Vitor Belfort to ONE Championship?