FILIPINO fighters Eduard Folayang and Kevin Belingon seek redemption when they collide against foreign rivals in the ONE Fighting Championship’s Pride of the Nation fight card on Aug. 31 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off losses last March, the Baguio-based fighters hope for a better ending this time in what is considered the biggest Mixed Martial Arts fight card yet to be held in the country.
Folayang, a Southeast Asian Games wushu champion, faces Japanese Felipe Enomoto in the co-main event, while Belingon clashes with South Korean Soo Chul-kim. Squaring off in the main event are Brazilian Bibiano Fernandes and Australian Gustavo Falciroli in a bantamweight fight.
ONE FC CEO Victor Cui expects an explosive card with the two Filipinos going all out in front of their countrymen and a bevy of international stars aching to strut their wares in the country.
“It’s going to be explosive,” said Cui. They (Folayang and Belingon) are fantastic representatives of the sport and are two of the hardest working fighters I’ve known.”
The company, which drew sellout crowds in their eight previous events in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, among others, sees the Philippines as a massive market for MMA.
“This is the best card we’ve ever done,” said Cui, referring to the Pride of the Nation event. “It’s probably the best fight card to be held in Asia. We know that the Philippines is ahead compared to the rest of Asia in terms of appreciating the sport.”
Folayang, who has evolved into a more calculating and wily fighter while plying his trade abroad in the past two years, said it is imperative for him to put up a good performance against Enamoto.
“I want to create history,” said Folayang, who still holds the URCC welterweight title and lost to Ole Laursen via decision in his last fight.
Cui said the Enomoto clash is a “big fight” for Folayang considering that they will be putting a world championship belt on the line in his weight category in the near future.
“Eduard needs to be on the radar that’s why this fight is important to him,” said Cui.
The 24-year-old Belingon is aching to bounce back after losing via submission to Masakasi Imanari of Japan in his last fight.
“I’ve been preparing hard for this fight,” said Belingon. “We want to win for the Philippines.”