Folayang, dealing with latest loss, feels he still has a lot to show
Eduard Folayang cut a dejected figure after absorbing a loss in the hands of debuting Zhang Lipeng in ONE: Battleground II’s main event on Friday night.
“This is not the performance that I wanted to show,” he said shortly after the tape-delayed contest held behind the closed doors of Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“It’s really tough,” Folayang said, his head bowed down and sighs in between his huffs for breath. “[It’s] painful to be in this situation.”
The 37-year-old former lightweight champion was looking forward to stopping a three-match slide that night. But his Chinese foe, who also has a foundational background in striking, was the last person invested in all of that, asserting himself right from the opening bell.
Folayang found himself battling on the ground early, even dealing with a rear-naked choke attempt by Zhang in the first round. The Team Lakay skipper battled back with crips strikes in the second, but a last-ditch takedown by his opponent in the final period pretty much doomed his chances at getting back to the win column.
“There were areas where I’ve not been able to cope with, especially in the first round,” Folayang, now 22-12, said as he shook his head.
“I was able to [keep up] in the second and the third. It’s really in the first that he was able to control [the fight],” he added.
Folayang’s frustration was palpable even from the television screen. But it didn’t take too long for him to show his resolute side.
“It’s been a decade, and yet, I’m still here,” he said as if preemptively quashing the persisting calls for him to retire.
“I know it’s not yet over. There is still a lot left to be showcased.”
After all, if there’s anybody who truly knows how to persevere, it’s Folayang, who once had to go through 10 truly capable foes before capturing his first-ever ONE title back in 2016.“I know the best is reserved for those who persevere on their dreams,” he said.
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