Folayang not fazed by seasoned champ Aoki
THE face of Filipino mixed martial arts, Baguio City’s Eduard “Landslide” Folayang (16-5-0) is up for a much-deserved shot at Shinya Aoki (39-6-0) and his ONE Lightweight World Championship belt in the top card fight at One Championship’s Defending Honor on November 11 in Singapore.
Folayang earned his shot at the title with two unanimous-decision victories over Japan’s Tetsuya Yamada and Papua New Guinea’s Adrian “The Hunter” Pang, where he impressed with a comprehensive grappling showcase and world-class wushu striking techniques.
Aoki is a Brazilian jiu jitsu legend who is also widely considered perhaps the best pure grappler in global mixed martial arts. The Japanese veteran is the possessor of 25 wins by submission out of a total of 39 career victories.
The Japansese grappling expert hasn’t defended his ONE Lightweight World Championship belt since successfully defeating Koji “The Commander” Ando in May 2015, however. By the time Aoki steps into the cage against Folayang, it will have been more than a year since the belt was put on the shelf.
Folayang is confident in his chances against his more experienced opponent.
“I am at the peak of my abilities as a fighter. All the hard work I have put into training has finally started to pay off and I am challenging the great champion Aoki. It will be an honour to share the cage with him, but I feel I have the skills to pull off an upset,” Folayang said.
Folayang has steadily built a reputation as one of the Philippines’ top fighters, and is regarded as the local poster-boy for mixed martial arts
He trains full-time in Baguio City with Team Lakay. The platoon – which also includes Joshua Pacio who unsuccessfully bid for the World Strawweight Title at ONE: State of Warriors in Yangon on October 7 – hone their wushu-based craft at high altitude, making them fighters of formidable stamina once they step inside the cage.
Folayang has been focusing on his ground game in training, as well as improving defensive tactics and takedown avoidance that he will need to neutralise Aoki’s grappling prowess.
His opponent is one of the world’s most decorated mixed martial artists: Having attained a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Yuki Nakai in addition to one in judo, Aoki has won multiple grappling tournaments across the globe.
Aoki is also the DREAM Lightweight Champion, and the former Shooto Welterweight Champion in addition to being the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion.
But once inside the ONE Championship cage, all bets are off: If Folayang is able to do the impossible and topple Aoki, it will have been a long march to the mountain-top for the Philippines’ favourite son. – Staff PITTSBURGH Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent surgery on his left knee on October 17 but is not expected to face an extended period on the sidelines, head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger suffered a torn meniscus during an October 16 defeat to the Miami Dolphins, complaining during the game that he “felt something funny” in his knee after missing part of the second quarter.
Although the 34-year-old star played through the pain during the second half, he was later discovered to have suffered a tear.
“Ben Roethlisberger underwent a successful outpatient arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this morning,” Tomlin said in a statement. “He is now recovering at home and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Steelers coach Tomlin said on October 17 that no timetable had been set for Roethlisberger’s return, but insisted the injury was “not longterm”,
“Though we do not know a specific timetable for when he will be able to return to the field, we are confident this injury is not long-term,” Tomlin said.
Despite Sunday’s defeat, the Steelers lead the AFC North at 4-2.
Tomlin’s side will face the in-form New England Patriots (5-1) in their next game. –
Eduard Folayang (right) lands a back fist on Papua New Guinea’s Adrian “The Hunter” Pang at ONE: Heroes of the World in Macao on August 13.