Fo­layang, Nguyen tout su­per fight as ‘en­ter­tain­ing and fun’

Business World - - WORLD SPORTS - By Michael An­gelo S. Murillo Se­nior Re­porter WEL­COME THE FIGHT

ONE Cham­pi­onship brings a ground­break­ing of­fer­ing when it makes its next stop in Manila in Novem­ber with the main play­ers tout­ing it as an “en­ter­tain­ing and fun” fight night for mixed mar­tial arts afi­ciona­dos.

Dubbed “ONE: Le­gends of the World,” and hap­pen­ing at the Mall of Asia Arena on Nov. 10, the event will mark the first time in its his­tory that ONE, Asia’s largest sports me­dia prop­erty, will pit two reign­ing world cham­pi­ons from dif­fer­ent weight di­vi­sions in a “su­per fight.”

ONE light­weight world cham­pion Ed­uard “Land­slide” Fo­layang of the Philip­pines will stake his ti­tle against world feath­er­weight cham­pion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Aus­tralia in a five-round con­test.

Mr. Fo­layang, a na­tive of Baguio City, will make his sec­ond ti­tle de­fense of the belt he won in Novem­ber last year over MMA leg­end Shinya Aoki while Mr. Nguyen is mak­ing his cage re­turn after shock­ing the MMA com­mu­nity with a dev­as­tat­ing knock­out win over erst­while cham­pion Marat Ga­farov in Au­gust.

The head­lin­ers are up with their up­com­ing show­down, high­light­ing the dy­namic that goes with such fight in­volv­ing world cham­pi­ons.

Mr. Fo­layang (18-5) said he wel­comes the new chal­lenge pre­sented to him in his lat­est fight al­beit ad­mit­ting it would en­tail a lot from him as a fighter.

“Cross­over fights like this are very in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing. It’s an­other way for us fight­ers to show­case our skills. But it’s not easy and you re­ally have to pre­pare well for such a set­ting as the dy­namic for it is very dif­fer­ent,” said Mr. Fo­layang when asked by Busi­nessWorld, dur­ing his face-off with Mr. Nguyen early this week at the City Gar­den Grand Ho­tel in Makati, for his thoughts on cross­over fights.

“I nor­mally fight lightweights and Martin is a nat­u­ral feath­er­weight so I ex­pect him to be faster and quicker than the fight­ers in my di­vi­sion. So right now I’m re­ally pre­par­ing a spe­cific game plan for him to counter his moves,” Mr. Fo­layang added.

He went on to say that as the one de­fend­ing his ti­tle, he will try ev­ery­thing he can to emerge on top.

“I in­tend to de­fend my di­vi­sion. This is my king­dom so to speak and he be­longs in feath­er­weight,” he said. Like Mr. Fo­layang, Aussie Nguyen (9-1) also wel­comes the cross­over fight, view­ing it as a good op­por­tu­nity to high­light some more his skills as a young and tal­ented fighter.

“My body is still young. While I’m in this sport I want to fight as much as pos­si­ble and en­joy this mo­ment as well as in­spire as many peo­ple as I can. I didn’t ex­pect it to come this early but I wanted this to hap­pen and I was told it’s go­ing to hap­pen in De­cem­ber in Thai­land but I did not know my op­po­nent yet. I thought I was go­ing to fight in De­cem­ber but I’m okay with this sched­ule as I want to en­joy Christmas with my fam­ily,” Mr. Nguyen said in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view.

Mr. Nguyen said he con­sid­ers beat­ing Mr. Ga­furov as the high point of his MMA ca­reer so far and is look­ing to build on it.

“Beat­ing Ga­furov has been the pin­na­cle of my ca­reer so far. He was deemed un­de­feated and they were hav­ing a hard time find­ing an op­po­nent for him. But I stepped up and de­feated him. It made it all the more grat­i­fy­ing,” Mr. Nguyen said.

For ONE Cham­pi­onship, do­ing its first-ever cross­over fight is only fit­ting to be done in the Philip­pines, con­sid­er­ing how fans in the coun­try have been sup­port­ive of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s events here since 2012.

“As you know Manila is a big mar­ket for mixed mar­tial arts in Asia. ABS-CBN is a good part­ner for us here. We also have in­cred­i­ble spon­sors and the fight­ers here have im­proved a lot. This is our first cross­over fight and we knew we just have to bring it to the Philip­pines,” said Loren Mack, ONE vice-pres­i­dent for PR and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

ONE LIGHT­WEIGHT world cham­pion Ed­uard “Land­slide” Fo­layang of the Philip­pines (L) will stake his ti­tle against world feath­er­weight cham­pion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Aus­tralia in ONE’s first cross­over fight in Manila in Novem­ber.

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