Folayang stakes title in super fight today
FILIPINO mixed martial arts world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang makes his second title defense in ONE Championship’s “Legends of the World” event today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 11th stop of Asia’s largest sports media property in the Philippines, Legends will have Mr. Folayang (18-5) staking his lightweight belt against world featherweight champion Martin “The Situ- Asian” Nguyen in ONE’s first-ever super fight between two reigning champions.
It is a setup which Baguio native Folayang is viewing with much excitement for the challenge it presents to him as a fighter but mindful still that it entails a different kind of preparation.
“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 in a media session in the run- up to Legends.
“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. I intend to defend my division. This is my kingdom so to speak and he belongs in featherweight,” added Mr. Folayang, who seized the ONE lightweight title around the same time a year ago from MMA legend Shinya Aoki of Japan.
It is the same excitement that Mr. Nguyen (9-1) is sharing even as he acknowledged that he is up against a tough challenge in Mr. Folayang at the latter’s home turf at that.
“I have so much respect for Eduard. We have become friends because of MMA. I know I have to work hard if I’m going to take his title but I’m determined to make history and make the most of this big opportunity that is presented to me,” Mr. Nguyen said in a separate interview.
The Aussie fighter, who seized the featherweight title from erstwhile champion Marat Gafurov in August, said he sees no problem with the short turnaround he is having in returning to the ONE cage.
“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.
Serving as co-main event for ONE: Legends of the World is the title fight between world flyweight champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes against hometown bet Danny “The King” Kingad.
It will mark the first time that Mr. Moraes (16-2) will defend his title after reclaiming it in August.
Looking to make it a short return reign for the Brazilian is undefeated Filipino fighter Kingad (5-0).
Other local bets seeing action are bantamweight Kevin Belingon, women’s atomweight Gina Iniong and strawweight Joshua Pacio against compatriot Roy Doliguez.
Gates to ONE: Legends of the World open at 6 p. m. It will be broadcast live over ABS-CBN S+A beginning at 8:30 p.m.
ONE Championship title holders Eduard Folayang (L), lightweight, and Martin Nguyen, featherweight, battle in a “super fight” at “ONE: Legends of the World” today at the Mall of Asia Arena.