Folayang ready for defense vs Aoki | Inquirer Sports

Folayang ready for defense vs Aoki

/ 05:30 AM December 22, 2018

Eduard Folayang

Eduard Folayang will fly to ONE Championship’s stacked Japan card knowing he will enter the belly of the beast. He will be facing a familiar foe who will fight in the adoring embrace of his compatriots.

But the ever-game Team Lakay spearhead isn’t worried at all. In fact, his first reaction to the card’s announcement on Thursday was to welcome Shinya Aoki’s shot at his title.

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“He deserves the shot,” the 33-year-old Folayang told the Inquirer in Filipino via a phone interview. “I think the rematch will make for a great show.”

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Folayang had already defeated Aoki before but he knows it will be a different version of the grappling sensation who will try to wrest his lightweight world championship.

For one, Folayang, a wushu specialist, said he had taken notice of Aoki’s recent exploits and his sharp-again form.

“He has become scary now that he’s regained his confidence. And when he’s oozing with that, you know he’s going to go all out,” he added.

And Team Lakay ringmaster Mark Sangiao couldn’t agree more: “We have to bring Eduard to the level beyond Shinya’s. That’s the paramount task right now, because Shinya has regained his confidence.

“Shinya’s last three assignments were tough ones. He dispatched them in succession,” Sangiao added.

Moreover, Aoki, whose three straight victories all ended in the first round, will be fighting in front of his countrymen.

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“I’ll just have to be ready for the best parts of his game—which comes from the ground,” Folayang said. “I look to go refine my offensive game, too. We’ve been so reliant on defense.”

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The ONE showpiece, slated on March 31, will feature Xiong Jing Nan and Aung La N Sang defending their respective titles, and global MMA superstars Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez making their ONE debuts.

TAGS: Eduard Folayang, One Championship, Shinya Aoki

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