“The Landslide” is Ready to Reclaim His Lightweight Belt
ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong announced last Monday that Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will vie for the vacant ONE lightweight world title against Amir Khan on November 23 in Manila. The announcement came about after former title holder Martin Nguyen relinquished his belt due to injury and a desire to focus on defending his featherweight title.
An October 6 bout between long-time lightweight kingpin Shinya Aoki and Ev Ting was being considered to be upgraded to a title fight. However due to the event being so close and the fact that the competitors have been preparing for a three-round fight in their respective camps, the ONE Championship brass decided against it. (Ev Ting however replied that he was more than willing to engage Shinya Aoki in a five-rounder.)
“You’re not the champion until you defend the belt.”
Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang just satisfied UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes’ requirement to be a true champion. The Filipino MMA hero claimed victory against a very intense foe in Kiwi-Malaysian Ev Ting in a five-round war of attrition at ONE: Kings of Destiny. Making the night sweeter is Lakay teammates Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Danny Kingad, and Gina Iniong’s wins, leading to a 5-0 sweep for the mythical Baguio-based team.
We saw a familiar “Landslide” last night, unafraid to throw kicks and back fists against an opponent who similarly enjoys trading shots. “E.T.” was a bit gun shy at first, but things picked up within the round, eventually culminating in a five-round classic.
Eduard Folayang was bloodied by Round 3, but continued to pour it against Ev Ting for five rounds.
Folayang essentially relied on his striking and improved grappling to establish three layers of offense against the taller Ting. From the get go, he looked to keep his distance with straight side, roundhouse, and spinning wheel kicks. In contrast to Ev’s headhunting tendencies, Folayang tried to play an endurance game with leg and body kicks that typically pay dividends at the latter rounds. They are also more efficient in terms of output: Head kicks take more energy to execute, more so against a taller opponent.
A straight side kick from Folayang.
A spinning wheel kick towards Ev Ting’s midsection.
Part I of MMA Philippines’ Exclusive Interview with 6th Dan Judoka and BJJ Black Belt John Baylon
Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang shocked the world when he defeated long-time ONE lightweight champion Shinya Aoki in a dazzling display of aggressive striking and submission defense. Everyone knew Folayang could strike; what surprised most of us was how well he defended against Aoki – the most feared grappling specialist this side of the planet – even though Shinya was in back control for most of the first round.
To explain our collective cognitive dissonance, some may have speculated that Aoki’s abilities are waning, or more grievously pass it off as sheer luck on Folayang’s part. But Clube De Jiu Jitsu Filipinas head coach John Baylon clarifies that it is neither: Eduard Folayang trained his ass off to defeat Shinya Aoki.
“I’ve known Eduard and Mark Eddiva since our days in the national team. Ever since, they wanted to train with us despite their busy schedule up in Baguio. Eventually, we were able to create a timetable that was suitable,” shared Coach John of how two of Team Lakay’s top fighters came to work with Academia John Baylon. “Initially, Eduard trained with the normal class, but when the fight with Aoki was finalized, he trained with us twice a day for two weeks straight, where Eduard would be the practice opponent and all he did was defend submission attempts in all positions.”
Those two weeks paid off, as the outcome was clear as day. “He was able to use [his submission defense] against Aoki, especially in defending his back, which we drilled over and over. It felt like second nature to him.” Coach John believes that the reason the two-week grappling camp worked for Folayang is his predisposition towards learning. “Eduard is very good with picking up techniques and adding them to his existing skill set as a high-level athlete. Moreover, he was very interested and had a great attitude to learn, and it showed in his fight with Aoki who was clearly surprised at Eduard’s skill level in defending his submission attempts.”