To say that Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso will have his hands full in “The Lion City” is a massive understatement.
Folayang is a hungry mixed martial arts veteran trying to make one more run at the World Title, while “The Spartan” is looking to break into a division teeming with talent by scorching one of the promotion’s all-time greats.
“When I heard I was fighting Eduard Folayang, I was super excited. I was very, very happy to hear that name,” the Pan Pacific BJJ Champion says.
“He’s a guy that I’ve watched for a long time, and in the back of my mind, I always knew that I would one day fight him.
“I’m excited to compete against him and test myself against a guy of his caliber. I can’t wait to get in there and show the world what I’m worth.”
Throughout the course of his storied career, “Landslide” has racked up 22 wins while defeating the likes of Japanese mixed martial arts icon Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Singaporean knockout king Amir Khan. That success allowed him to hold lightweight gold in two separate reigns.
“Folayang speaks for himself,” the 29-year-old continues. “He’s strong all-around. He’s a tough dude, he’s durable, and he’s experienced.
“There’s a lot of good things to say about Folayang. I’ve watched him for a long time. I’ve studied him for a very long time, and I’m finally excited to get a chance at him.”
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Armed with that knowledge, Caruso won’t be rolling the dice when he steps into the Circle against the wushu specialist. The Aussie will attempt to disrupt Folayang’s striking and take the fight to the place where he believes the Filipino legend will be least comfortable.
“Everyone has weaknesses in this world of mixed martial arts,” Caruso says. “You can’t exactly be great at everything. There are areas that me and my team have noticed about Folayang – his groundwork.
“My ground game is one of my massive strengths. So if I can get him there, we’re going to expose him in those areas, capitalize on that, and show why I’m ready to take the next step in my career.”
Of course, taking the Team Lakay standout down won’t be an easy task for “The Spartan.” After all, Folayang has been in the Circle with some of the world’s brightest grapplers.
But Caruso himself is no rookie.
The Australian, who trains at Sanford MMA alongside two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang and ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, is entering this contest with a 7-1 mixed martial arts record.
Also, in addition to his BJJ credentials, he has a background in boxing and Shotokan karate, which he’ll undoubtedly need to fall back on against “Landslide.”
For his part, Caruso believes he can pull all of those disciplines together and score a quick victory.
“Within the first two [rounds],” he says. “‘The Spartan’s’ going to get his hand raised and get the job done.”
And if he does get the job done, the Aussie has bigger goals in mind.
“Honestly, I love being part of ONE Championship,” Caruso says. “I’d love to reach the heights in my fight career here, challenge for a World Title, put my name out there with the greats like Aung La and Martin, and really challenge myself to become one of the world’s elites.”