Less than three weeks before his much-awaited return to the ONE Circle, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang
has been given another reason to secure a bounce-back victory in front of his hometown fans on August 2.
Folayang’s superbout with Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez
at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES
at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila has been upgraded to a semi-final match of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
The sudden turn of events happened after Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin suffered a knee injury, forcing him to withdraw from the eight-man lightweight tournament.
As if Folayang needed more motivation, he now has tons of it entering this match.
With a clear path toward another run at the ONE Lightweight World Title, the soft-spoken Team Lakay superstar is now more motivated than ever.
"First of all, I'm wishing Timofey a fast recovery,” Folayang said. “That’s our life as athletes. Sometimes you don’t expect to get injured.”
“Since I found out that I will be fighting Alvarez, I told myself that I have to make an impression,” Folayang added. “Now that we’re part of the Grand Prix, I am closer to another World Title shot, because that’s what will happen if I win.”
“But regardless if this is a Grand Prix fight or not, I’m always determined. I consider this a bonus.”
Even though being included in the tournament was a bonus for him, Folayang is not one to waste chances. Two more wins will get him back to the pinnacle of contenders for the ONE Lightweight World Title currently held by Christian “The Warrior” Lee
“Of course it’s an honor to be a part of [the Grand Prix]. Being in the tournament is a huge thing,” Folayang said. “I’m even more motivated now and if God will allow me to win this, it will be a big honor and an added boost to my World Title aspirations.”
While he will not change how he prepares for the fight, Folayang admits that the stakes just got a whole lot bigger the moment the announcement came that their match, originally an alternate bout for the tournament, is now officially part of the Grand Prix.
“My fight with Alvarez will be one of the biggest challenges in my career as a mixed martial artist,” Folayang said. “Being part of the Grand Prix is just an added blessing for me.”