Philippine martial arts icon and Team Lakay veteran Eduard “Landslide” Folayang has had a rough go of it as of late, losing three of his last four in the Circle against top-caliber opponents. But despite the recent setbacks, the 2-time former ONE Lightweight World Champion believes he still has a lot of mileage left in the fight game.
Folayang is set to return to action in a three round mixed martial arts contest against Australia’s Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso. The two will square off at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX, set for Friday, 30 October, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
Folayang is looking to put together a comprehensive victory, and power his way back into the win column.
“For now, I’m not even thinking about how long I have left to compete. It’s not on my mind right now. The only thing I’m focused on is 30 October, and my goal. I want to accomplish the mission and take home the victory,” said Folayang.
Folayang won the vacant lightweight strap in November of 2018, when he dominated Singapore’s Amir Khan. However, he succumbed to Japanese rival Shinya Aoki by arm triangle in his first title defense in Japan. Not long after, former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez choked Folayang out at home in Manila.
“Landslide” bounced back in a big way, defeating highly-regarded Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu by technical decision, a bout Folayang was arguably ahead of on the scorecards before an accidental clash of heads ended the action prematurely.
Folayang’s most recent outing saw the Filipino veteran drop a very close split decision loss to No. 3 ranked lightweight Pieter Buist last January, just before the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world.
Folayang isn’t convinced he’s shown all his cards just yet, and promises to plug the holes in his game to put together better performances. If he loses to Caruso this time around, many of Folayang’s critics believe the 36-year-old veteran should consider walking away from the sport.
“I’ve been a bit unlucky recently. Obviously, there were things I could have done better in my previous matches. But I think I performed well enough. Now, it’s just a matter of fixing those mistakes and tightening up my game. I feel like I still have a lot left to offer the game,” said Folayang.
“Critics will always be there, whether you’re doing well or you’re not. I just want to go in there and do my thing. I’ve been in this game a long time, and I know enough not to dwell on what my critics say. I think my performance in this event will speak for itself.”
In his 13th year as a professional mixed martial artist, Folayang has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the cage. He’s been in the mix with some of the greatest martial arts talents the world has ever seen.
Though “Landslide” doesn’t believe the end is in sight, he does admit his priorities have changed since having already reached the pinnacle of his profession.
“As always, my biggest motivations in life and my career are my family, my country, and God. I will continue to fight for those that matter to me most,” said Folayang.
“There’s nothing left to prove for me at this level. I’m a 2-time former lightweight champion and I’ve faced the best in the Circle. Right now, I’m focused on inspiring more young athletes with my performances, and lifting the spirits of my people in the Philippines. I continue to fight more for my country, than for my own personal gain.”
ONE Championship returns on Friday, with ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX, broadcast live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The blockbuster features four World Title bouts for a total of six compelling martial arts contests.
In the main event, reigning ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar defends his middleweight title against top contender Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder of The Netherlands.