Martin Nguyen has Nothing but Brotherly Love for Eduard Folayang
With just 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the second round, Martin Nguyen found the opening he was anticipating for six weeks. Coming his way was a strike synonymous to his opponent, Eduard Folayang – the spinning wheel kick.
Unlike other fighters who simulate bad blood to draw more publicity, Folayang and Nguyen weren’t shy in professing their friendship. “Eduard’s not only a very good fighter. What inspires me about Eduard is that he inspires the younger generation,” Nguyen said about Folayang several days before the fight.
However, a fight is still a fight, and the only way to come out on the winning end is by inflicting damage to the person opposite you. Once fighters enter the cage, whatever relationship they have developed is put on hold. In those few minutes, they go to war.
Asked about the motivation to challenge for his buddy’s title, Nguyen replied, “In terms of why I’m fighting [Folayang], the aim is to make history in ONE Championship. It’s very rare that these opportunities come.”
And make history he did. Nguyen landed a perfect right overhand counter to the jaw of the Filipino hero right when Folayang was completing another spinning attack. Unfortunately for the Team Lakay leader, his challenger did his homework.
“You know what; I timed that perfectly with that right hand. It was supposed to be a takedown, but I threw a right hand out of instinct.” And just like that, Eduard Folayang lived and died by his signature move.
“The Silencer” Seeks to Cement Claim to Title Opportunity
ONE Championship was six months old when Kevin Belingon first stepped inside its cage in 2012. That makes him one of the OG’s of Asia’s largest MMA promotion.
His journey is a series of ups and downs, facing a who’s who of ONE’s bantamweight division. To date, the highest point he’s reached was a championship bout against Bibiano Fernandes in January 2016, which unfortunately ended with a first round submission loss.
While “The Silencer” may have faltered against the champ, Belingon bounced back with three straight victories, including two KO wins over former title challengers in Toni Tauru and Reece McLaren.
The Lakay KO artist has long established that he belongs to the upper tier of ONE’s 135-lbs division, and when he finished McLaren in last August’s ONE: Quest for Greatness, a rematch with Fernandes seemed to be the next logical scenario.
Martial Artists Return to the Top of the UFC
It was a euphoric experience for fight fans as UFC 217: Bisping vs St-Pierre lived up to the hype. In just one night, we witnessed the return of a legend, chapter one of a bitter rivalry, and the ascendance of a young heroine.
Three title changes. Three wild finishes. Quantifying the experience that is UFC 217 is a tall task – even Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier found it difficult to express themselves during recap segment – but I’ll do my best to wrap my mind around the aftermath of this marquee event.
Here are three takeaways from UFC 217:
#3 “Thug Rose” is LEGIT!
In a turn of events that no one saw coming – let’s be honest here – ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas played Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s game and came up on top. Joanna was known as the superior striker, but Namajunas threw hands with her and caught the champion with a left to the jaw, followed by a right to the downed fighter which finished her off ultimately.
Before the fight, Namajunas’ fiancé and UFC veteran Pat Barry stated that Joanna has a Mike Tyson-esque aura; and most of her opponents already lost even before the fight because they are afraid of her.
But Namajunas is different; she doesn’t fear Joanna. During the weigh-ins, the champ was all over her, talking a lot of trash, warning her, “The boogeywoman is coming for you!” And instead of being intimidated, Namajunas – in a monotonous voice and with a straight face – was reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Yikes!
At the 3:03 mark of the very first round, we hailed a new queen of the strawweight division. What followed was even more amazing and this possibly is the reason why I’m in love with Namajunas.