Eduard Folayang, Shinya Aoki face off at ONE: A New Era kick-off presser
Santino Honasan on Mar 28, 2019 09:16 PM
"I believe that this fight is going to be an explosive one, there’s a lot of history to be written," - Eduard Folayang
Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang of the Philippines and challenger Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki of Japan shared the stage and faced off in the official kick-off press conference for ONE: A New Era, which was held Thursday evening at The Ritz Carlton in Ropponggi, Tokyo, Japan.
The two will face off in the main event of Sunday's historic fight card, a rematch of their 2016 bout that saw Folayang dethrone Aoki to become the new ONE Lightweight World Champion.
Folayang, who comes from the famed Team Lakay stable in La Trinidad, Benguet, is on his second run as the ONE Lightweight World Champion and is looking to repeat history when he shares the cage with Aoki once again.
"This rematch is three years in the making, it’s an honor to face Shinya here in Japan. It’s the first [ONE Championship] event that will happen here, and I believe everyone is excited, not only the martial artists that will be competing, but also the fans and everyone watching around the world." Folayang said.
"I believe that this fight is going to be an explosive one, there’s a lot of history to be written," he added.
Hometown favorite Aoki will be competing in Japan for the first time since his 2015, and hopes to bring the ONE Lightweight World Championship back home.
“I am thankful that ONE Championship is in my home country. This is a great step forward for martial arts in Japan." Aoki stated.
"I am laser focused for this coming match. I’ve trained very hard for my opponent. This Sunday night, I am confident I can achieve victory and become World Champion once again," he continued.
A New Era, ONE's historic first fight card in Japan, will also fourteen other exciting matches including three more world championship bouts.
Another Filipino will be putting his title up for grabs, as Folayang's Team Lakay teammate Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon will try to retain his ONE Bantamweight World Championship against former long-time titleholder Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes of Brazil. Belingon and Fernandes face each other for the third time in their careers, as they try to dispute who is the rightful top dog in the bantamweight division.
Reigning ONE Women's Strawweight World Champion "The Panda" Xiong Jing Nan of China will put her title on the line against Singapore's reigning ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela "Unstoppable" Lee, who's looking to become the first female two-division world champion in ONE history.
The middleweight division will also feature a world championship rematch, as reigning ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La N Sang of Myanmar faces Japan's own Ken Hasegawa. The two hard-hitting middleweights met back in 2018, with Aung La N Sang scoring a late-fifth round stoppage to retain his title.
Also on the card, a pair of former American UFC champions make their long-awaited ONE debut, as former long-time flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson faces Japan's Yuya Wakamatsu in a ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal matchup, while multiple-time lightweight champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez faces Timofey Nastyukhin of Russia in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals bout.