At 31 years old, Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang has seen it all.
A 20-fight veteran, the Baguio-native has gone toe-to-toe with the world’s finest, but his best performances have come in his last two fights, taking back-to-back unanimous decision wins against Tetsuya Yamada and Adrian Pang — the latter a title eliminator in the stacked Lightweight division.
“Sa hinahaba haba na pinagantay ko, sa dami ng pagsubok, ngayon nagkaroon ng opportunity na magkaroon ng title shot,” he reflected.
Every time he steps inside the ONE cage, expect fireworks and highlights, as “Landslide” gives it his all in every bout. Friday evening, though, is not about being on the highlight reels as he looks to slay a beast, a living Asian MMA legend.
Standing in the way of his dreams of the gold is ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki (39-6-0-1) — arguably the best Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioner in Asian MMA. Even with Aoki’s impressive resume, the Wushu practitioner firmly believes that he has trained well enough for the bout.
“Sa akin masaya ako na makalaban siya, isa siya sa mga pioneer ng MMA sa Asia. Magandang opportunity para ma-test skill ko. Kung paano ko masusubukan yung mga skill na ginagamit ko in the past,” said the 170cm Folayang.
“Sa kanila kasi, part na ng culture na niya yung grappling e. Sa atin, although hindi pa tayo hinog, tayong Pilipino mabilis tayo matuto. Kung gaano man sila kagaling, meron at meron solusyon yung problema na yun. Either engage into it and escape or prevent it.”
However, the long training sessions he has had to endure in preparation for the bout are just half the battle. Come fight night, he vows to dig deep, promising to find Aoki’s fear, his weakness, and exploit it.
“Normal lang naman yang mga yan na sinasabi ng fighter. It’s upon the fighter kung paano sila ma-oovercome yung fears. I believe siya rin may takot,” he said on Thursday afternoon.
“Expect niyo na gagawin ko lahat ng best ko. Lahat na ibibigay ko para sa laban na ‘to.”
Moreover, he remains grateful to have been granted this opportunity and believes that his time is now.
“Full of spices yung journey. May ups and downs pero ganun naman talaga ang buhay. Magandang story ‘pag natapos mo talaga ng maayos,” he shared.
“I’m looking forward na maging maganda yung resulta nito para may magandang istorya na maisusulat sa libro ko.”
For the first time in his illustrious career, Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang battled for a world championship as he takes on ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki on Friday, November 11, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore City.
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