It would be wrong to think that Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez is already past his prime after one loss, according to ONE strawweight contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Alvarez will be taking on Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in the semi-finals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix at ONE: Dawn of Heroes on Friday, August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
The former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion had an inauspicious debut at the Home of Martial Arts when he suffered a first-round technical knockout defeat at the hands of Timofey Nastyukin at ONE: A New Era last March.
For Catalan, the last thing that Folayang should do is think that Alvarez is past his prime.
“Alvarez can still pull the trigger. He came here to prove something because he was a World Champion,” Catalan shared.
“I know he failed against Timofey Nastyukhin, but he will try and bounce back strong against Folayang.”
On the other hand, Folayang himself is also coming off a loss. He dropped his ONE Lightweight World Title by first-round submission against Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in the main event of ONE: A New Era.
While both athletes are eager to get back in the winner’s column, it is clear who Catalan thinks will win.
“I don’t think Eddie is done at all, and I expect him to be at his best against Eduard Folayang. But if I were to choose, I’d say Eduard has the edge,” the 40-year-old said.
“Not just because he’s a fellow Filipino or a former teammate, but I see the eagerness in Eduard and his hunger to win again.”
For Catalan, Folayang’s experience with having his back against the wall will come into play the moment he stands face-to-face with Alvarez.
“What Eduard has over Alvarez is his determination. That’s where he’ll truly pull ahead. He’ll come in prepared for this match.”
Fans and experts alike point out that Alvarez’s notorious punching power may prove too much to handle for Folayang, who has suffered four knockout defeats in his professional career.
“The Challenger” acknowledged that Alvarez indeed packs dynamite with every punch he throws, but whether he lands them on Folayang will be a different story.
“Even though he’s a power puncher, I doubt that he’ll be able to hit Eduard,” Catalan shared.
“With his experience, I know that he’s aware of the things that Alvarez will be throwing at him. He’ll come in prepared and hungry. I know he won’t be giving Alvarez this match.”
Asked how the encounter between Folayang and Alvarez might end, Catalan did not think twice in making his pick.
“I got Eduard by decision, or maybe he can knock him out with a spinning back fist.”
Want to catch ONE: Dawn of Heroes? Get your tickets here and use the codeword ONEHERO for a 25 percent discount. A special limited-edition Eduard Folayang – Eddie Alvarez shirt is also for sale on the event night itself.