MMA: Eduard Folayang to prevent Shinya Aoki from taking fight to the ground

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2021 04:13 PM

MMA: Eduard Folayang to prevent Shinya Aoki from taking fight to the ground 1


Former ONE lightweight champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang knows what he needs to do when he meets fellow former champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki this week.

Folayang and Aoki will square off in an all-important rubber match in ONE on TNT IV in Singapore on Thursday.

“This is a very important fight for my career, knowing where Aoki is right now in the division. If I could beat him, not only would I win the trilogy, but it could catapult me to another run for the world title,” he said.

Folayang and Aoki first locked horns in 2016, when the Filipino martial arts veteran scored an emphatic technical knockout victory over the Japanese legend. They met again in 2019, with Aoki evening their series at one win apiece.

For this third and perhaps final bout, Folayang said he’s learned some major lessons from their most recent encounter, which will help him secure the victory this time around.

“I overlooked just how good Shinya is when he gets the opportunity. The moment he gets his hands locked together, you’re done. That’s one thing I truly overlooked,” said Folayang.

“I also got too casual with my kicks, and that’s what Shinya capitalized on to get me to the ground. Against him, you don’t want to be on the mat, but that’s what happened and that’s what we want to avoid.”

Folayang also said he wants to avoid any sort of ground war with Aoki, who is one of the most dangerous grapplers in mixed martial arts.

“We’re preparing for what Shinya plans to do, and knowing him, he plans to get the fight to the ground as early as possible,” said Folayang.

“We’re working to prevent a battle on the ground, and we’re also working on what to do just in case we’re there. We’re also looking for ways to strike Shinya when the match remains standing.”

If Folayang can defeat Aoki here, he could take the Japanese legend’s spot in the lightweight rankings. Aoki is currently ranked fourth at lightweight, while Folayang sits just outside the top five.

While Folayang carefully approaches this trilogy bout, he is also completely determined to beat Aoki and make another run at the lightweight strap.

“As much as possible, if there’s an opening for the finish, make no mistake that we’re going for that. That’s the result that we’re hoping to get, but of course, we’re always looking to prepare for different situations because this is a very unpredictable sport,” said Folayang.

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