Folayang Defends while Kingad Ascends Divisional Summit
A scenario where three Filipinos fighters are ONE Championship titleholders is possible come November 10, as Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang and Danny Kingad are set to defend home soil for ONE: Legends of the World at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
However, the two fighters from Baguio will be coming into their respective fights under opposite circumstances. The 22-year-old Kingad will be looking to reach the flyweight division’s apex, while Folayang, reigning lightweight champ, will try to remain on top of the mountain.
The King’s Conquest
Perfect record vs title – This will be the theme of the co-main event as the undefeated Kingad, 5-0, will try to dethrone Brazilian flyweight champ Adriano Moraes who has been on a winning streak of own, finishing two out of his last three fights by way of submission.
The challenger arguably has the greater momentum coming into the bout, as he has yet to taste defeat in the course of his young career.
He earned the title shot by beating Malaysian Muhammad Aiman by way of unanimous decision last April. Kingad showed his striking prowess when he TKO’d Muhamad Haidar, and also displayed his ground game by submitting compatriot Eugene Toquero last year.
Moraes, however, will not be just another prey for Kingad. The flyweight champion is a veteran of 18 fights (16-2), and will undeniably have the advantage in the experience department. And although Kingad’s unblemished record looks better on paper, his opponent had won more than three times of his overall professional fights.
Kingad’s key to victory will be striking, for Moraes is the superior grappler – having won 50 per cent of his fights via submission. Outperforming American Top Team’s champion might be a tall task, but “The King” will have to find a way to vanquish his foe to establish the beginning of his dynasty.
Everything to Lose
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang’s title defense against fellow ONE champion Martin Nguyen – who climbed from the featherweight division to challenge – is a must-win situation for the Team Lakay leader, to say the least. Folayang is the favorite coming into the fight for having the size advantage and the comfort of fighting in his natural weight class.
However, the pressure is on the lightweight champion as he has little to gain from the fight while Nguyen has a chance of making ONE Championship history by becoming the first fighter to hold two titles in two different divisions simultaneously.
The Australian-Vietnamese challenger also told reporters that he intends to vacate the lightweight championship should he beat Folayang for it. This will only make a loss for Folayang so much more painful as his title will be left floating around if he fails to defend it.
Nguyen’s plan for an eventual return to a lower division will also take away Folayang’s shot at redemption – unless he follows Nguyen there too. These circumstances are the reasons why winning is the only option for 33-year-old champion.
Rafael Bandayrel is a self-confessed nerd who happens to love MMA. Yes, nerds watch sports these days. What a time to be alive.
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