Eduard Folayang to make first title defense in Manila this April
Eduard Folayang will be defending his title in front of a home-country crowd in April. (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Big news from ONE Championship's big boss.
ONE founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong announced Wednesday afternoon in an interview with ABS-CBN Sports that the Philippines' own reigning ONE Lightweight Champion Eduard "The Landslide" Folayang will be putting his title up on the line for the first time on home soil, at ONE Championship's April 21 card at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
"April 21st in Manila is going to be a massive, massive event, we’re gonna have Ben Askren defending his title, we also have Eduard Folayang defending his title, and we’ll have a bunch of other Filipino superstars on the card." Sitdyodtong said.
Folayang (17-5) captured ONE's lightweight crown back in November after shocking the world by knocking out Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in the third round.
For the 32-year old Team Lakay star, it was the realization of a nine-year long journey to a world championship.
Sityodtong added that he hopes to see not just every Filipino MMA fan, but every Filipino watch Folayang defend his belt.
"Eduard Folayang just won his title back in November in Singapore, he’s gonna defend it in his home country, in Manila, for the first time, April 21st. I want the entire country, if you’re a Filipino, if you’re Pinoy, if you have a Pinoy heart, you gotta watch this fight,"
"You have a national hero on the global stage, representing the Philippines, representing the Philippines’ pride, representing everything beautiful about Pinoys, you gotta watch this fight." Sityodtong added.
As for Folayang's challenger, ONE's head honcho says that an announcment will be made soon.
"We are in discussion with a few opponents right now, and an announcment will be made shortly. "
As Sityodtong mentioned, another champion will be on the April 21 Manila card, as reigning ONE welterweight king Ben Askren will also be putting his title on the line.
The unbeaten Askren (15-0, 1 NC) is no stranger to fighting in Manila, with his last two fights taking place at the Mall of Asia Arena. In his most recent outing, the American grappler decisioned Russian striker Nikolay Aleksakhin last April.