MANILA, Philippines — Five Team Lakay fighters will see action in the main card of ONE: Age of Domination and all of them are looking up to Eduard Folayang as their inspiration.
Folayang did the unthinkable two weeks ago by sinking Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki to become the ONE world lightweight champion.
“It was such a joy to watch my friend and brother win the title. I am happy for him. It is an amazing feeling because I know I was able to help him achieve his goals,” said Honorio Banario, one of Folayang's Team Lakay stablemates.
“We always try to help each other in training, and we have improved a lot together.”
Other Team Lakay fighters felt energized after witnessing their brother’s cage victory.
Geje Eustaquio remembered how it felt seeing Aoki be on the receiving end of Folayang's attacks.
“I was watching the fight online. The moment that we observed Aoki’s spirit was subdued, we screamed at the referee to stop the fight. Then when he stopped the fight, it was all crazy from there,” said the bantamweight contender.
“Everybody was jumping. It was so hard to contain our happiness at that time. We all went to bed past two in the morning, celebrating. We just couldn’t contain ourselves. We know Eduard deserves that title. He has been in ONE Championship since the beginning until now. He really deserves that belt. It’s the best feeling in the world, when you reap what you sow. Now is the time for him. It’s harvest period.”
Featherweight standout Edward Kelly, prospect Danny Kingad and women’s atomweight fighter April Osenio also shared a similar experience from the gym.
“Aoki’s game plan just didn’t work out. Eduard really deserved the win, he has been preparing for this moment his entire career. When he had Aoki cornered against the fence, every punch Eduard landed with that night drew cheers from everyone watching. It was awesome,” Kelly said.
Kingad said: “In the first round, when Shinya took Eduard’s back, I was scared for him. That wasn’t a good position to be in. So when coach Eduard was able to get out of that, to defend against that and escape, that’s when a great feeling came over me.
“I knew then that Eduard can handle Aoki’s grappling. I can’t describe the feeling that I felt when he won. I was so happy. Nobody watching with me was sitting down. Everyone was going wild.”
Osenio said the win even inspired her to train harder the next day.
“The next day, I felt so inspired. I trained three times the next day. I had so much energy,” she said.
It will be Folayang’s turn to cheer when his teammates compete in ONE: Age of Domination.
The card will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City next Friday. It will feature Fil-Am Brandon Vera’s heavyweight title defense against undefeated Japanese Hideki Sekine and bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes title fight against Fil-Australian Reece McLaren.
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