Fo­layang not fazed by sea­soned champ Aoki

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

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. –

Photo: Sup­plied

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.

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