MANILA, Philippines – American mixed martial arts veteran Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez will get a shot at redemption when he takes on local hero Eduard "Landslide" Folayang at ONE: Dawn of Heroes on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alvarez made his ONE Championship debut at ONE: A New Era, but it did not go as planned.
The multiple-time world champion succumbed to Timofey Nastyukhin via shock first-round knockout. Still, Alvarez remains unfazed and as determined as ever to restart his journey towards the ONE World Title.
"Look, I got the first one out of the way. I lost, no problem. I did the same thing in the UFC [against Donald Cerrone] and I honestly almost did the same thing in my debut in Bellator," said Alvarez. "I got dropped terribly. My debut in Bellator against an Irish kid (Greg Loughran) that no one knew. I got caught pretty clean."
"I bounced back and got the win, but I'm not a big fan of my debuts, put it that way. So I got it out of the way, got it past me, and now I can go full-on, go undefeated straight to the belt," he added.
"I go out there and I've given my all every time, but I think that every once in a while it's good to take a loss and put the fire back in your belly, and I think it's a good time to have that. Sometimes you need that fire to burn long enough to get to that world title."
For this upcoming bout, Alvarez will face another tough and exciting foe in Folayang, the former ONE lightweight world champion who has seen his fair share of success against formidable opponents and will be competing in his homeland.
"He's incredibly tough, incredibly durable. I understand the power of wushu, because the guys I train with, Zabit [Magomedsharipov] and a lot of the Russians that come over to spar with us in [New] Jersey, they’re all from a wushu background," said Alvarez.
"So the art is for real, it applies very well to MMA. And I'm looking forward to the toughest Eduard Folayang," he added.
"It's in his hometown. So I'm looking forward to a tough opponent and I'm viewing the fight as one that I absolutely have to finish. I am not coming in for a decision. I expect to lose if it goes to a decision. So I have every intention to finish."
As an exemplary athlete and mixed martial artist, Alvarez wants to show fans what he is capable of, especially against Folayang who has a ton of championship experience under his belt and will draw from the cheers of the hometown crowd.
"I'm excited. This match-up in particular, I feel like this guy's such a hard-nosed, tough fighter. This could be a Fight of the Year," he said.
"Just my attitude and my mentality going into the fight, I like to feel that my back’s against the wall. I do really well there. I don't like to feel respected. I like when people think a certain way, whether it's negatively or whatever, and then I get an opportunity to shock them all," he added.
"I never want an easy fight. My only desire is for the ONE Championship title. And this guy’s held it not once, but twice already."
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