Like the majority of Team Lakay on Friday evening, Eduard Folayang was downcast.
But out of all of them, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion experienced the worst heartbreak.
“I became impatient,” the 35-year-old Filipino icon confessed.
In a dream lightweight bout pitting him against former UFC World Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez, Folayang got off to a scintillating start. A thunderous right leg kick from the Baguio-native then sent the American crashing down early.
Sensing blood, Folayang went for the finish, raining fists and elbows to the prone veteran. It was an uncharacteristic move for the 29-fight pro.
“I wanted to finish him as soon as possible, but it didn’t go that way,” he continued.
Alvarez remained patient on his back. Finding a space, he went for a sweep and eventually got Folayang’s back. In one swoop, Alvarez then locked a tight rear naked choke to silence the jampacked SM Mall of Asia Arena and advance to the Lightweight World Grand Prix Finals.
As Alvarez celebrated around the ring, Folayang went down to his knees, pondering on what went wrong.
“Yeah, I rushed. I think that’s one of the mistakes I made. I was not cautious and I wanted to get up as soon as possible,” he admitted.
“I forgot that I’m very vulnerable at that position.”
The opportunity to make global headlines disappeared. But that doesn’t mean Folayang sees this as the end of the road; instead, he sees this only as a lesson learned.
“I think for Eduard’s fight, the major lesson we’ve learned there is don’t rush. We were winning. I thought we won already but because of the small details… We’re in the world-level, so small mistakes will finish everything and lose the fight,” said Team Lakay head coach and Folayang’s confidant Mark Sangiao.
“So next time, we’ll be cautious.”
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