Team Lakay Now has Three ONE World Champions in Their Roster
One night after Team Lakay bagged four awards in ONE Championship’s Global Martial Arts Awards, Kevin Belingon outworked Bibiano Fernandes to become the new undisputed ONE bantamweight world champion. Winning by split decision, he joins Lakay teammates Geje Eustaquio and Joshua Pacio to hold three belts in Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization. And, two weeks from now, Eduard Folayang has the opportunity to reclaim his belt and make it four out of the 11 available belts strapped around a Lakay’s waist.
ONE Championship was Damn Right in Giving Mark Sangiao Coach of the Year
The main event at ONE: Heart of a Lion was nothing short of a Fight of the Year candidate. Bibiano Fernandes came out to win, bringing the fight to Kevin Belingon with his trademark grappling, working to finish the fight with several submission attempts. On the other hand, as expected Belingon did his best work on the feet, punishing Fernandes with body kicks and combinations that left marks on the former bantamweight king’s face as the decision was read. Easily, Bibiano won Round 3, while Belingon took Round 5. The rest of the rounds, we could argue ’til kingdom come.
Most people’s light bulb memory of Kevin Belingon was his flash knockout of David Aranda at ONE: Moment of Truth. Personally, Kevin Belingon’s loss to Masakatsu Ueda is the memory I always refer to pertaining to ‘The Silencer’. Sure, he lost that bout, but it was an excellent performance as he used all his available tools to keep the Japanese grappling stalwart at bay. My favorite was his strategy of timing a knee whenever Ueda would dive for a takedown.
“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.)
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.”