Retirement not in Folayang’s mind

THE past few years have been rough for former ONE Championship lightweight king Eduard Folayang. He has lost three of his last four contests.

At 35 years old, some might suggest that he’s close to the end of his MMA career.

However, Folayang’s coach, Mark Sangiao, firmly believes that his prized student still has a lot of years more in him.

“Eduard is a very talented fighter, no doubt. He has all the skills and tools to succeed on the championship level. And he has a very difficult style to deal with. As long as I can see Eduard being passionate and working hard for his career, I believe he can still get to the highest places in MMA,” said Sangiao in a statement. “I think the end is there for every fighter. No one can fight forever. It’s about listening to your body and paying attention to your mindset. This fight will answer a lot of questions about Eduard, win or lose. But honestly, we’ve never even discussed his retirement. He still wants to achieve a lot of things in this sport.”

Folayang, once the poster boy of Philippine MMA, is in for a tough task against a younger opponent in Aussie Tony Caruso on Oct. 30, 2020 in ONE: Inside the Matrix at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

“For us at Team Lakay, every fight, no matter how minor or major it is, it’s very important. This fight in particular is very significant for Eduard, as the result will dictate if he can get back in the list of top lightweight contenders,” said Sangiao, the leader of Baguio City’s famed Team Lakay.

“During the lockdowns here in Baguio City, we all trained in our respective homes. We only just returned to the gym two months ago, strictly adhering to the coronavirus protocols. It was great for our athletes because they could spar with each other. Right now, we’re working double time, focusing on our game plans and strategies, especially for Eduard.”

Folayang last fought on Jan. 31, 2020. He lost by split decision to Pieter Buist.

The 29-year-old Caruso is a submission specialist with four of his eight fights won by submission. He trains under the tutelage of Henri Hooft at Hard Knocks 365.

Like Folayang, Caruso’s last opponent was also Buist, who beat him by unanimous decision.

“We’ve studied Antonio Caruso’s previous fights and we’ve already come up with a good game plan, which will hopefully work in our favor,” said Sangiao.

Folayang is 22-9, while Caruso is 7-1. (EKA)


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