Folayang to lean on experience in ‘certain situations’ in Aoki rematch
ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang believes that he has certain advantages when he takes on Japanese rival Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in a rematch.
Folayang and Aoki are set to go at it once again, this time in the main event of ONE: A NEW ERA, which emanates from the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
Generally, Aoki’s been in the game far longer than Folayang, but the soft-spoken Filipino superstar stressed that he has the upper hand in several aspects of the bout.
“We both had been through a lot in our mixed martial arts careers, but I think my experience, and mindset to handle certain situations will play a huge factor in our rematch,” Folayang said.
“I have complete respect for Aoki and that is the main reason I’m training very hard for this match.”
Folayang and Aoki first met at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in November 2016, where the Baguio City native came in as a huge underdog against the Japanese grappling wizard.
But Folayang displayed excellent grappling defense, eventually ending on top of Aoki to get the TKO win and start his first run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion.
Ever since that night, Folayang knew that a second meeting with Aoki is inevitable.
“I knew that I will someday cross paths again with Shinya Aoki ever since our first encounter in 2016. It is an honor to share the cage with him for the second time,” he expressed.
“Aoki has been on a hot streak ever since losing the ONE Lightweight World Title. I can tell that he is hungry to get the belt back, seeing his past performances against world-class competition.”
While Aoki has been impressive, Folayang asserted that he has also been working on his continuous improvement as a competitor.
“My game has evolved and upgraded completely since we first met. I know he is one of the best submission athletes in this sport and I’ve been working with my ground game for quite some time already both for offensive and defensive purposes,” he stated.
Folayang knows that a tough test awaits him in Tokyo, Japan, and he vows to be ready, knowing that he is going to strut his ware in the top bill of the biggest card in ONE Championship yet.
“This is definitely the biggest match of my career. To headline a star-studded card and to defend my title to one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet is every competitor's dream,” he explained.
“On March 31, I’ll be there to prove that I am the champion for a reason. I’ll do my very best to keep the belt. I’m ready to defend this title for all the Filipinos and for the country.”