Folayang Hoping To Recapture Magic In Pivotal Return To Singapore
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang knows his upcoming match is absolutely essential for getting his career back on track and chasing the coveted belt he once owned.
Fortunately, he’ll be fighting in his second home of Singapore – a place where he’s enjoyed tremendous success over the past decade.
The Filipino mixed martial arts icon will look to recapture some of that magic when he faces Australian star Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso as part of the loaded ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX card on 30 October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“It all starts in Singapore again,” the 36-year-old Baguio City native says.
“We all know how important this match is to me, to my team, and to the Philippines as well, and I’m just happy that I’m starting over in Singapore again.”
It’s been a tough stretch for the former multiple-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, who’s gone 1-3 since 2019 against top-flight opponents.
After losing the belt to his old foe, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, in March 2019 and then losing to American megastar “The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez five months later, Folayang managed to right the ship with a victory over surging Mongolian juggernaut Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhuu to close out the year.
However, he was sent back to the drawing board with a close split-decision loss to the division’s #3-ranked contender, Pieter “The Archangel” Buist, this past January.
Perhaps the change of scenery could be what “Landslide” needs to turn his luck around.
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Folayang, who has a 22-9 professional mixed martial arts record, has experienced tremendous success in Singapore.
He has gone 6-1 in “The Lion City,” including his monumental victory over Aoki in November 2016 to win the ONE Lightweight World Title for the first time.
“I believe this is a brand new chapter in our long journey, and as always, it starts with Singapore,” adds Folayang, who headlined the inaugural ONE Championship event in the city-state back in September 2011.
“Now, here we are after that long training. We all thought we wouldn’t be competing at all during the COVID-19 pandemic, but ONE Championship found a way to put up this event, and I’m always grateful for that.
“One thing’s for sure – I’m heading to Singapore well prepared, and I’m praying that it turns out to be fruitful.”
With the hopes of one day ruling the division again, this match certainly needs to be fruitful for “Landslide.” He’s shown that he can hang with his younger rivals in the weight class, but moral victories won’t help him climb the ladder.
In the end, it comes down to wins and losses – and this is essentially must-win territory.
“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,” Folayang explains.
“We are completely focused on doing whatever it takes to claim victory right now. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re ready to give it our best. We want to go in there with confidence.”
Folayang will need all the confidence he can muster against a young, hungry opponent in Caruso, who’s targeting a huge boost in his own stock with a win over the Filipino icon.
The Australian sensation is a Pan Pacific BJJ Champion who owns a 7-1 professional mixed martial arts record and possesses a 71 percent finishing rate.
Having done his homework on Caruso, “Landslide” expects nothing less than a tough grind from a guy who can spell trouble in various areas of the game.
“I have high expectations for him. He’s called ‘The Spartan’ for a reason, and that’s because he’s a warrior. He’s hungry, so I have to show that I am hungrier,” Folayang says.
“Looking at his technical strengths, he can win via submission, so he’s confident on the ground. But at the same time, he’s more than willing to brawl as well. He comes forward and gives a lot of pressure.
“He can also adjust, evident in his previous match against Buist. If he doesn’t get his rhythm on the feet, he always has a Plan B, which is his takedowns. So, I have to be mindful of that.”
Folayang is not one to talk smack against anyone – particularly his upcoming opponent – and instead plans to let his game do the talking.
If things go the way he wants, the former World Champion will score a dominant victory that puts him back on track in ONE’s ultra-stacked lightweight division.
“Of course we want to get that win. We want to do it by executing our game plan from start to finish, imposing my will, and being 100 percent accurate with what I want to do,” Folayang says.
“We’ve been preparing for this for a long time, even before we knew who we were facing. I plan to make him fight my fight.”