ONE: Former champion Eduard Folayang is fighting his way back to main event status
Santino Honasan on Jul 24, 2018 11:31 PM
"As a martial artist, you need to face the challenges that come to you. You lose on Monday, but it’s up to us if we will be losing on Tuesday and the other days of the week,"
On Friday night at ONE Championship: Reign of Kings at the Mall of Asia Arena, former ONE Lightweight world champion Eduard ‘The Landslide’ Folayang will be taking on undefeated Russian Aziz Pahrudinov.
It will be the second straight time that Folayang will be pitted against an undefeated Russian grappler, but it’ll also be the second time in as many fights that he faces a relative unknown who’s set to make their ONE Championship debut.
Back in May, Folayang rudely welcomed Kharun Atlangeriev to ONE Championship with a dominant beatdown in Singapore for the Unanimous Decision win. It was his first time back since losing his championship to Martin Nguyen in Manila back in November of 2017.
After headlining his last two business trips in Manila, Folayang now finds himself in the middle of the card, and while others may see that as a relegation, the former champion sees it as just another challenge to go through as he works his way back up ONE Championship’s lightweight ranks.
“As a martial artist, you need to face the challenges that come to you.” Folayang said during Tuesday’s Reign of Kings Press Conference at the City of Dreams Grand Ballroom. “You lose on Monday, but it’s up to us if we will be losing on Tuesday and the other days of the week, so I think being a martial artist, you need to do your part and keep improving so that whatever opponent you’ll be facing, you know that you’ll be able to give the very best that you have.”
A win against Pahrudinov on Friday will definitely push Folayang back into the title picture, says ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong.
“For the record, Eduard is not a gatekeeper, I still consider Eduard very much a title contender. Of course, we gave him two tough fights, two undefeated Russian contenders, especially Aziz, who’s a Combat Sambo world champion, this is no walk in the park.” “Eduard’s not a gatekeeper. If he wins this fight, he’s very much back in the title picture.”
“It’s great that he beat an undefeated Russian in his last fight. This fight, again with Aziz, is going to be a very tough fight, but again, if he beats a Combat Sambo world champion from Dagestan, Russia, who’s undefeated, 20-0, it says something about who he is a as a warrior.” Sityodtong continued.
Sityodtong has always been vocal about his belief in Folayang. When the Pinoy MMA icon lost his title back in November, Sityodtong was one of the first to say that he believes Folayang will bounce back.
The ONE Championship head honcho even took offense to people who thought that Folayang’s days as a competitor were over.
“When Eduard lost, everyone wrote him off, I remember a lot of people saying he should retire. I said bullsh*t, because they don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t know martial arts.”
“I said Eduard’s gonna come back, watch.” Sityodtong added.
Now, eight months later, Eduard Folayang is indeed back, and could be taking another step back towards redemption after Friday's fight night.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard 'The Landslide' Folayang meets unbeaten Russian Aziz Pahrudinov at ONE: Reign of Kings on Friday, July 27th at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Catch it LIVE starting at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!