ONE Championship: Team Lakay lightweights Folayang, Banario excited for Grand Prix tournament
Santino Honasan on Nov 08, 2018 12:16 PM
Team Lakay lightweight stars Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario are both looking forward to the announced ONE Lightweight Grand Prix tournament in 2019.
During the ONE: Heart of the Lion pre-event press conference in Singapore, ONE Championship announced that they will be holding Grand Prix tournaments for the lightweight and flyweight divisions in 2019.
This was done, according to ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, as a way to welcome newly-signed stars Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson.
The intial details of the tournament, as Sityodtong mentioned, is that it will be an eight-man tournament featuring the best fighters from each division.
Two of those possible eight from the lightweight division are none other than Team Lakay's Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario, who are both pretty excited about the upcoming tournament.
"Sa akin, if even na makaka-sama ako sa tournament, masaya ako kasi first time ko, first time ko na maka-laro ng MMA tournament na professional," Banario told ABS-CBN Sports. "It’s my first time and I’m very excited to try my best because they consider me as one of the top lightweights, so I’m preparing for that event to come."
Banario (13-7) is the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Champion and was a top contender in the lightwieght division for the past couple of years.
The 29-year old is 5-1 in his last six bouts and was on a remarkable five-fight winning streak before losing to Amir Khan back in September.
Folayang (20-6), on the other hand, has a bit more to think about before he can focus on the said tournament.
The former ONE Lightweight World Champion has a chance to become a two-time champion when he meets Khan for the vacant title at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila on November 23rd.
For the 33 year old, the tournament format is a welcome addition to the ONE lightweight division, and something that he says is a familiar experience.
"Since my amateur days, sa Wushu, ganun. Dito sa professional, mas exciting kung i-introduce nila yun sa lightweight division, kasi yung improvement mo machecheck mo within a specific period of time," Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports.
The added challenge, Folayang says, is that the tournament format should keep you on your toes.
"If you win, hindi ka mag-sstop kasi looking forward ka sa mananalo sa next bracket until you make your way to the top, so napaka-ganda yung idea na yun, I think."
Sityodtong also mentioned that the champion could also be included in the tournament, which means that should Folayang come out victorious on November 23, he could be putting his title up on the line in the tournament as well.
"If they include the champion, it will be more exciting," Folayang added.
I think, and if they include the champion, it will be more exciting.