ONE: Geje Eustaquio believes Eduard Folayang due for win vs Eddie Alvarez
MANILA, Philippines—Eduard Folayang is arguably on his toughest comeback fight since losing his ONE World lightweight title to Shinya Aoki.
The Team Lakay veteran faces Eddie Alvarez, regarded as one of the best 170-lb fighters having previously held the UFC World lightweight title earlier in his career, in his next match in ONE Championship in August.
Despite Alvarez’ illustrious resume, Folayang’s Team Lakay brother Geje Eustaquio believes the Filipino mixed martial arts icon has the advantage.
READ: Eduard Folayang, Eddie Alvarez clash in stacked ONE Manila card in August
“I think Eduard is due for a win because I’ve seen him prepare for this competition,” said Eustaquio (12-7), a former ONE World flyweight champion. “Both of them are hungry for redemption but I believe Eduard has a tougher mind.”
“He’s enjoying things now. He really wants to get his title back, he’s really determined. We all know him. He’s still the Landslide that we used to know. He has a tough mind.”
Folayang (21-7) lost to Aoki in the main event of ONE: A New Era, the promotion’s first card in Japan, after he succumbed to an arm-triangle choke and fell unconscious 2:34 into the first round.
Alvarez (29-7), meanwhile, is also coming off a stunning loss, dropping his ONE debut bout against Timofey Nastyukhin via technical knockout 4:05 into the first round, also in Tokyo.
READ: ‘Dream fight’: Eduard Folayang wants to test his mettle against Eddie Alvarez
“I think his mental toughness is the key. Eduard was in the deepest moment of his career and we saw how he reclaimed his title,” said Eustaquio of Folayang’s victory against Amir Khan on Nov. 23, 2018.
Folayang reigned for nearly a year atop the lightweight division when he beat Aoki on Nov. 11, 2016 but lost to Martin Nguyen on Nov. 10, 2017.
Eustaquio also pointed out that Folayang won’t be going to his matchup against Alvarez without crowd support.
Even though Folayang will take on Alvarez at Mall of Asia Arena in the ONE: Dawn of Heroes card, Eustaquio assured that supporters from the Cordillera will descend on Manila to support their champion.
“The people of the mountains will go down and watch,” said Eustaquio. “His countrymen will watch him and support him that’s a bit of pressure on his shoulders but I think he will convert them into motivation.”
“At the end of the day, Eduard will prove that he’s still the face of Philippine martial arts.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.