Team Lakay ace Eduard Folayang deserves to get a crack at the ONE lightweight title now held by Singapore’s Christian Lee.
Folayang, considered as the face of Philippine mixed martial arts, held the same title and lost it to Japanese Shinya Aoki via submission in their rematch on March 31.
In their initial tussle in 2016, Folayang pummeled the Japanese pride on the way to a technical knockout win.
The 35-year-old Folayang proved successful in weathering Aoki’s storm of submission attacks, finding the right opening and securing the win by stoppage.
The young “Warrior” from Singapore used the same formula in winning over the Japanese grappling legend at ONE: Enter the Dragon in Singapore just recently.
Fighting before his countrymen, Lee managed to survive Aoki’s scary attacks on the ground, including a very deep armbar submission attempt. In the second round, Lee unloaded a blistering combination of punches to put Aoki down on the way to becoming a ONE World Champion.
Folayang’s loss in his title match with Aoki was simply as a result of a combination of luck on the part of Aoki and Folayang’s lack of caution. He let himself get caught by Aoki and taken down. On the ground, It was Aoki’s show.
Folayang could not do anything about Aoki’s masterful arm triangle lock. Once cocked and loaded, the triangle choke is almost unstoppable.
The loss, notwithstanding, Folayang has not lost his championship caliber. He simply got caught in a bad situation.
If he will be pitted against the 20-year-old Lee, Folayang’s striking skill should be on display against an opponent, who also loves to attack.
On the ground, Lee is slightly favored. His Evolve MMA gym employs world jiu-jitsu champs from Brazil because Singaporean students can afford to pay.
Thankfully, Folayang has good wushu and wrestling background which Team Lakay has found important in complementing its athletes’ superior striking skills.
Folayang is not done yet. A championship fight against Lee should be interesting to watch. Meanwhile, Lee would be able to test what he’s really made of.
See you in ONE Manila very soon!