ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang presents tougher challenge in rematch, says Shinya Aoki
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 03, 2019 11:36 AM
"I donít know what will happen in the rematch. All I know is that it will be a tough fight, and I look forward to it."
Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki will have the opportunity to regain the world title that he lost nearly three years ago as he is scheduled to lock horns against Eduard "Landslide" Folayang for the ONE Lightweight World Championship in a rematch at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
Both men initially crossed paths at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in November 2016, with Folayang pulling off a stunning upset victory over Aoki.
Branded as a heavy underdog in the first bout, “Landslide” defied the odds by executing a perfectly-devised game plan en route to a third-round technical knockout to capture the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Aoki had to work his way back up the ladder since losing to Folayang, winning three consecutive matches in 2018 to earn a shot at the Filipino’s ONE Lightweight World Title.
Touted as the most decorated lightweight in the well-entrenched history of Asian mixed martial arts, Aoki made quick work of Malaysian-Kiwi dynamo Ev “E.T.” Ting in his last outing at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES this past October.
The Japanese submission specialist needed just 57 seconds to send his battle-tested opponent into sleep with an arm-triangle choke.
"I thought that it would be a tough fight. I am fortunate to be able to come out victorious," said Aoki in reference to his match with Ting.
"As soon as I took down him down, I was setting up a choke and was confident I could get the submission."
Not only did the win book Aoki a rematch with Folayang, but the highly-anticipated second encounter between the two will also take place in his home country of Japan.
A lot of things have changed in their respective professional careers since they first stood opposite each other inside the ONE Championship cage.
Aoki refrains to tell what he plans to bring to the table against Folayang, but he concedes to the fact that it will not be an easy task.
"I am happy to get the chance to fight in my home country for ONE Championship," he stated. "I don’t know what will happen in the rematch. All I know is that it will be a tough fight, and I look forward to it."