ONE Championship: Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao not expecting anything new from Shinya Aoki in title rematch
Santino Honasan on Mar 12, 2019 06:14 PM
"Alam naman natin yung talagang technique ni Aoki, specialist talaga siya, genius siya sa grappling, and alam natin na yun yung gusto niya, tapusin si Eduard sa early rounds," - Mark Sangiao (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang has a tough test waiting for him in Tokyo, as he gets ready to defend his title against Japanese mixed martial arts legend and former titleholder Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki in the main event of ONE: A New Era, ONE's first-ever trip to Japan on Sunday, March 31st.
The first defense in Folayang's second run as the lightweight world champion, this will be a rematch of their blockbuster 2016 encounter that saw the Team Lakay lightweight star end Aoki's long and dominant run as the ONE Lightweight king.
And while Aoki absolutely demolished his last three opponents en route to another shot at the title, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao isn't expecting to see anything out of the ordinary from Aoki when he meets Folayang for a second time.
Sangiao knows that Aoki is damn-near untouchable when it comes to grappling, but is confident that Folayang can survive an early storm from the Japanese star.
"Alam naman natin yung talagang technique ni Aoki, specialist talaga siya, genius siya sa grappling, and alam natin na yun yung gusto niya, tapusin si Eduard sa early rounds," Sangiao said. "Pero knowing Eduard, pag hindi niya tinapos yan in one to three, siguradong mananalo si Eduard dito. Kailangan siyempre ma-hasa ng husto si Eduard sa kanyang grappling and hopefully, mangyayari ulit yung ginawa niya nung unang laban niya."
Back in their first meeting, Aoki did manage to take Folayang to the ground, but was not able to end the fight with a submission. Aoki continuously shot in for a takedown, which ultimately became his downfall, as Folayang landed a well-timed knee that led to the third-round TKO finish.
A little over two years later, Sangiao feels that there isn't much else that Aoki is looking to do.
"Tingin ko, [walang babaguhin iyan]. Ang alam ko diyan, tatapusin niya talaga si Eduard sa ground, yun yung, sa akin lang, yun yung tingin ko na pinaka-armas ni Aoki."
Still, Aoki remains one of the world's most lethal grapplers, and one small mistake could easily result in another title loss for Team Lakay in 2019.
As for his Lakay brother in Folayang, Sangiao says that the Filipino mixed martial arts star still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
After being primarily recognized as a striker, Folayang has slowly evolved into a well-rounded competitor. While striking will continue to be his bread and butter, the 34-year old Baguio native has developed a competent skillset in grappling defense, and that was very much on display in the first fight with Aoki, as well as his last three bouts against high-level Russian grapplers in Kharun Atlangeriev and Aziz Pahrudinov, and against the also-well rounded Khan.
"Si Eduard naman, unpredictable yan, kahit ano gagawin. Yung ginawa niya sa mga Russians, sa paa. Yung ginawa niya kay Amir Khan, mga siko naman. Ngayon, aasa ulit sila na may darating pa, may mga bago pang ilalabas si Eduard," Sangiao explained.
Catch ONE: A New Era LIVE on Sunday, March 31, 6:00 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!