Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang has been keeping a close eye on the upcoming match-up between Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev and the division’s reigning king, Christian “The Warrior” Lee.
The two athletes will meet in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final at ONE: CENTURY PART I, which emanates from the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.
Arslanaliev was originally slotted to face Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez in the tournament finale, but the Philadelphia legend had to withdraw from the bout due to injury.
“The Warrior,” living up to his moniker, ultimately stepped in to replace Alvarez on just two weeks notice.
Folayang, who competed in the same tournament, believes Arslanaliev has the edge heading into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
“All I can say is ‘Dagi’ is slightly ahead because of his full training camp,” the Filipino martial arts veteran offers.
Preparation time aside, the Team Lakay representative also knows the 24-year-old has something even more dangerous – his hands.
“[Arslanaliev’s] advantages are his size and power,” he continues. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that he has finished the who’s who of the lightweight division.”
Like most of the Turkish athlete’s strikes, Folayang’s comment is right on the mark. Arslanaliev holds a sensational mixed martial arts record of 8-1, and he owns an incredible 100 percent finishing rate.
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Ever since his professional debut in February 2014, “Dagi” has been considered a promising talent on the rise.
Back in September 2018, however, he rose to stardom when he knocked out Russian powerhouse Timofey Nastyukhin nearly two minutes into their lightweight encounter.
That victory convinced the matchmaking committee to put Arslanaliev into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, where he would dispatch two of the promotion’s most beloved heroes in quick fashion.
In February, the Turkish dynamo knocked out Ev Ting in just 25 seconds in the tournament quarterfinals, and he followed that up by knocking out Amir Khan in the first round of their semifinal match-up.
Those wins secured Arslanaliev a spot in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship Final, where he now faces the division’s reigning king.
Though “Dagi” has finished every opponent in the tournament, and earned every one of his career wins by knockout or submission, Folayang advises him not to look past his Singaporean rival.
After all, Lee shocked the world when he moved up a weight class and defeated Japanese martial arts icon Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki for the ONE Lightweight World Title at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON in May.
“He went through a lot to become a World Champion. Lee can mix it up with his striking and ground game, but he needs to match the power of ‘Dagi,'” the Team Lakay product says.
“There’s no such thing as a clear-cut favorite because this is mixed martial arts – anything can happen.”
Tokyo | CENTURY | ONE Championship’s 100th Live Event | Tickets: Purchase here
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.