The IEEE 802.16e standard is thus proposed for supporting high data rate and dynamic mobility in WiMAX. IEEE 802.16e specifies the association handoff mechanism in the MAC layer, i.e., providing contention-free-based initial ranging, and thus mobile stations can perform the initial ranging early during the handoff period. An MS executing the association handoff during a scan duration is disallowed to send/receive any packets to/from the serving BS. IEEE 802.16e suffers from not determining a precision scan duration period because of losing the transmission opportunity or the response status of the received ranging response (RNG-RSP) message. Although the MS can set a longer scan duration to complete the initial ranging procedure, it significantly degrades handoff delay and delay jitter of real-time service flows. In addition, most handoff studies seldom considered balancing traffic load among neighbor base stations (BSs). This paper thus proposes an efficient Adaptive Load-balancing Association handoff approach (ALA) consisting of two phases: (1) the Adaptive Association Handoff phase (AAH) and (2) the Predictive Direction-based Load Balancing phase (PDLB), to overcome above mentioned problems. AAH proposes an adaptive re-association mechanism to reduce lost synchronizations, and thus improve the grade of service. PDLB adopts the Polynomial Regression-based RSS prediction algorithm to accurately predict the moving direction of mobile nodes. Numerical results demonstrate that ALA significantly outperform IEEE 802.16e and others in average handoff delay, number of handoffs, dropping probability, GoS, network utilization, and number of lost synchronizations.