Eduard Folayang has never struggled defending himself on the ground, which is why his Team Lakay is anticipating his crossover match against Martin Nguyen to be a slugfest between two strikers.
"The Landslide" will be staking his ONE lightweight title against Nguyen, the ONE featherweight title-holder, in a cross-divisional showdown at Mall of Asia Arena on November 10.
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao described Nguyen as a well-rounded athlete with a devastating right hand and an impressive grappling skill set.
“Si Martin Nguyen, malakas iyong right hook niya tapos magaling din siya sa ground,” Sangiao said.
“Pero considering iyong mga previous fights ni Eduard, never siyang na-submit. Kaya di kami nagwo-worry sa ground niya . . . so doon na lang sila magme-meet sa striking.”
Folayang, the face of Philippine MMA, has already amassed an impressive 18-5 professional record and is currently riding a 4-bout winning streak against high-profile opponents, including an emphatic TKO victory over Japanese legend Shinya Aoki.
That victory started his reign as ONE lightweight champion.
Folayang said he and his Team Lakay will closely study Nguyen’s fighting style.
“Kailangan muna pag-aalan iyong kalakasan ni Martin, kung ano iyong magiging game plan niya para sa akin,” he said.
Nguyen, who fights out of Sydney, Australia, is a highly skilled finisher and considered one of the most talented featherweights.
In his most recent bout in August, he scored the biggest victory of his career by stopping erstwhile unbeaten featherweight king Marat “Cobra” Gafurov in Macau to capture the crown.
Nguyen now has a professional record of 9-1.
“Most of the time nakita ko at nakita ng mga kasama ko na usually ginagamit niya iyong over-right hand niya,” said Folayang, who assured his fans that he will defend his turf as the reigning champ.
“I’ll do my very best para maidepensa ko iyong division kung saan nandoon ako.” —With a report from Marianne Claire Reyes, ABS-CBN News
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)