MANILA, Philippines -- Australia's Antonio "The Spartan" Caruso is confident heading into the biggest bout of his mixed martial arts career, as he is set to face former ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang this Friday in Singapore.
Their lightweight bout, scheduled for three rounds at ONE: Inside the Matrix, will have implications on the title picture of the division.
"To beat a guy like Eduard would be massive for my career, definitely sending me one step closer to the ONE Championship world title," Caruso noted.
There are plenty of reasons for Caruso's confidence -- at 29, he is the younger man against the 36-year-old Folayang, and he believes he can outclass the Filipino veteran if the fight goes to the ground.
"He shows me his neck, I'm going to take it. That's how I work. That's how I operate," said Caruso. "You give me anything, and I'm going to take it. I'm going to choke him."
What makes Caruso all the more optimistic, however, is the presence of reigning ONE featherweight world champion Martin Nguyen in his corner.
The two are teammates at Sanford MMA, and Nguyen has been invaluable for Caruso as he has experience against Folayang. The "Situ-Asian" put Folayang to sleep when they fought in November 2017, causing the Filipino to lose his lightweight belt.
"To have the extensive information that I've already got on Eduard is massive," said Caruso. "Obviously, he's already a very experienced fighter. There's a lot of footage on him, of how he's fought."
"And then, to have a guy like Martin who has fought him and beat him is massive. To be a part of Sanford MMA, I believe is one of the best things in the world," he added.
Caruso also believes that heading into the bout, all the pressure is on Folayang. There have been questions about the veteran's future, with some suggesting that it may be time for him to retire should he suffer another loss.
"I'm just in there," said Caruso. "I don't care who it is. To me it's just another name, it's just another fight. I don't feel the pressure of the names."
"Folayang is explosive," he also acknowledged. "But no offense, he's 36 years old now… I'm a young and hungry man, so come October 30, I'm going to be all over him. My explosion, I'm going to take it out on him."
ONE: Inside the Matrix will feature four world title bouts, including the main event where Aung La N Sang of Myanmar defends his middleweight belt against Reinier "The Dutch Knight" de Ridder of the Netherlands.