ONE Champinoship: Banario backs teammate Folayang in title clash with Khan
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 02, 2018 09:41 AM
"I see a highly-motivated Eduard Folayang in training because he didn't expect to be blessed with another shot at the world title. He's just so motivated for this bout. Eduard is ready to reclaim the world title that he lost nearly a year ago," - Honorio Banario
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is confident his teammate Eduard "Landslide" Folayang will emerge victorious when he collides with Singaporean sensation Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title.
The pair will square off in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which emanates from the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 23 November.
Banario's five-bout winning streak came to a heartbreaking conclusion when he locked horns with Khan this past September in Shanghai, earning the Evolve athlete his shot at the gold.
After exchanging strikes in the opening minutes of the match, Banario was caught in a rear-naked choke that forced him to wave the white flag at the 4:34 mark of the first round.
"The Rock" admitted becoming very careless in his bout against the young martial artist from Singapore, but he doesn't see his experienced Team Lakay stablemate falling into the same trap.
"I became careless and overconfident in our fight, but I don't see Eduard making the same mistake," Banario said. "We all know that he is a complete fighter. He has a style that Khan will have a hard time dealing with."
"When it comes to strength, striking, and wrestling, Amir Khan will have a hard time overcoming Eduard in those areas. I'm not underestimating Amir Khan, but Eduard is simply on another level. Both are complete fighters, but Folayang is a much more experienced veteran."
Banario also revealed that Folayang is extremely driven in training for the scheduled five-round championship clash with Khan.
"I see a highly-motivated Eduard Folayang in training because he didn't expect to be blessed with another shot at the world title. He's just so motivated for this bout. Eduard is ready to reclaim the world title that he lost nearly a year ago," he disclosed.
Since making his triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage this year, the beloved Filipino martial arts superstar is on an upward trajectory.
With the intention of climbing back towards the top of his weight class, "Landslide" impressively defeated two unbeaten Russian opponents. First, he dominated Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds in May, before edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a lightweight thriller two months later.
After returning from defeat and posting consecutive victories over elite opposition, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion refused to sit back and relax, accepting an invitation from a close friend to train in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The 34-year-old Baguio City native flew out to the United States in August for a month-long training trip at the famous Jackson-Wink MMA training facility, which is home to a number of world-class athletes such as Jon Jones, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez, to name a few.
Witnessing his Team Lakay comrade's grind at the gym to be in top physical shape, Banario made a bold prediction on the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Title showdown.
"This is the right chance and timing for him to get back to his throne," he declared.
"He is ecstatic each and every time he's training. I think Folayang can get an early finish. It won't go the full five rounds. The fans in Manila are in for a treat."