Fo­layang stakes ti­tle in su­per fight to­day

Business World - - WORLDSPORTS - By Michael An­gelo S. Murillo Se­nior Re­porter

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.

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