Eduard Folayang thinks Shinya Aoki hardly improved ahead of ONE title rematch
TOKYO, Japan—Shinya Aoki has been on a tear heading into his title rematch against Eduard Folayang in the main event of ONE: A New Era on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan here.
Aoki is riding on a three-fight streak with all of his wins by stoppage in the first round.
Aoki’s resurgence following two straight knockout losses to Folayang and Ben Askren has not gone unnoticed with many of his fellow ONE fighters convinced that he’s taken his game to a higher level after the pair of setbacks.
But Folayang, the reigning lightweight champion, thinks otherwise.
“I think Shinya Aoki will use the same old approach inside the cage,” Folayang said.
“Those who are commenting that his striking has improved may have not watched his previous fights carefully. If you would look at it, he clearly wants the fight to hit the ground as early as possible.”
Folayang and Aoki have contrasting styles. The Filipino superstar is at his most dangerous when he’s on his feet while the Japanese legend made a name for himself as a grappling wizard.
In their first bout, however, Folayang showed he can hang with Aoki’s vaunted ground game and pull off the big time upset with a third-round TKO victory to claim the lightweight crown for the first time in 2016.
The 34-year-old Folayang, who is also on a three-match run, is determined to repeat over Aoki and put on a sterling show before the pre-dominantly Japanese crowd.
“Of course I need to give a convincing victory — a different, creative, and innovative way to win the fight,” Folayang said.
“If I pull that off, I think that is one of the best ways to capture the Japanese fanbase.”