FORMER two-time lightweight world champion and Filipino mixed martial arts superstar Eduard Folayang will finally make his way back to the ONE Championship Circle.
Folayang is set to square off against Antonio Caruso of Australia in a three-round mixed martial arts contest at ONE: Inside the Matrix, scheduled for October 30 in Singapore.
“I’m so excited to be back in action again, especially since having to wait so long in lockdown. We’ve been eagerly anticipating when we will be able to return to competition, and I am glad that moment has finally arrived. We’re absolutely pumped and training very hard right now to put on a good show,” said Folayang.
The 36–year–old veteran along with his brothers at Team Lakay spent their time in lockdown due to Covid-19 wisely, continuing to hone their skills to stay ready for any opportunity to compete again.
“The past few months have been very difficult for all of us. Everyone in the world has been affected by Covid-19, especially here in the Philippines. It posed a few challenges for our training early on as we had to stay at home and practice social distancing. Even in isolation, the work never stopped and we used our time to sharpen our tools and skills,” added Folayang.
Folayang is out to regain his winning ways after struggling in 2019 after losing two out of his three bouts.
He started by surrendering his ONE lightweight world title to Japanese rival Shinya Aoki at ONE’s first show in Tokyo and then succumbing to former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez shortly after at home in Manila.
Though Folayang came back with an impressive decision victory over Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu later on in the year, he suffered another setback in January this year, dropping a close split decision to third-ranked lightweight Pieter Buist.
Folayang believes his next performance is crucial to his career moving forward, and that he’s working on putting himself in the best position to win.
“I can say the results of these next few fights are very important to us, as we haven’t gotten the results we wanted recently. So now, we are really aiming for the best results possible,” said Folayang. “We are completely focused. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re ready to give it our best. We want to go in there with confidence.”
Against Caruso, Folayang faces a former boxer and competitive grappling champion after honing his skills under legendary trainer Henri Hooft alongside top-level training partners, including ONE World Champions Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen.
He currently brandishes a stellar 7-1 professional record to start his career and looks to improve on that by taking down a big name in Folayang.
“Antonio Caruso is a strong fighter. I’ve seen his previous fights. I don’t think he’s a guy you can really take lightly. Of course, I am doing everything I can to prepare for his style. As usual, it’s going to be about dictating the pace and making him fight my fight. You can’t underestimate anyone in this game, so I’m not about to start with him,” said Folayang.
ONE: Inside the Matrix features four World Title bouts in a single night of action.
In the main event, ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world champion Aung La N Sang of Myanmar will defend his middleweight belt against undefeated top contender Reinier de Ridder of The Netherlands. (Roderick Osis)