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Mixed Martial Arts

Eduard Folayang open to facing ONE grappling champion under MMA rules

Eduard Folayang has been vocal about his desire to return to action, and the Filipino legend has one intriguing matchup he’s willing to entertain.

In an exclusive interview with Tiebreaker Times, he was presented with a list of possible opponents, including Sage Northcutt, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Maurice Abevi, and Kade Ruotolo.

However, what truly raised eyebrows was Folayang’s openness to sharing the same stage with Ruotolo — the reigning ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion.

For those unfamiliar, Ruotolo is a young Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigy set to make his mixed martial arts debut at ONE 167 against Blake Cooper on Saturday, June 8.

“I have a lot of respect for Kade, especially in BJJ because he’s on a different level there and he’s the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion, so it’d be an honor to face him,” Folayang told the online sports publication.

Should this showdown come to fruition, it promises to be a classic striker-versus-grappler affair.

ONE-Championship-Shinya-Aoki-Eduard-Folayang Eduard Folayang open to facing ONE grappling champion under MMA rules Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports newsAs a former wushu sanda gold medalist, Folayang is renowned for his lightning-quick hands and feet, along with his devastating knockout power.

Moreover, his fighting style is anything but dull as the two-time ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion consistently seeks spectacular finishes, making him a perennial fan favorite.

On the other hand, Ruotolo is celebrated for his revolutionary grappling techniques.

Transitioning from pure grappling to MMA, Ruotolo’s skill set provides a compelling counterpoint to Folayang’s striking prowess.

While Folayang appears enthusiastic about the prospect of squaring off against Ruotolo, he acknowledges that the potential duel hinges on the outcome of the American’s maiden MMA outing.

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“I think that would depend on the outcome of his debut. Sometimes, decisions change. It’d be best to just sit back and wait for it to all fall into place,” he stated.

As Folayang eagerly awaits his next opportunity inside the Circle, it’s worth noting that he has encountered some roadblocks along the way.

According to a reliable source, two fighters have already declined offers to face him.

Folayang chose to be mum when pressed for confirmation, but he expressed his hope to report for duty very soon.

“I’m not losing hope. I know that the right matchup meant for me will come eventually. All I can do is ensure that I’m prepared if I’m given an offer to fight. I hope it happens soon,” he stated.

Written By

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times,,, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.

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