Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang is staying home for his first title defense.
The Philippines’ newest national icon will defend the ONE Lightweight World Championship against Malaysia’s Ev Ting at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, live on Friday Night, 21 April, from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
Having not competed in front of a Filipino crowd in nearly two and a half years, Folayang is determined to make this a homecoming his fellow countrymen will remember.
“The pressure is there, and the good thing is I am more motivated,” the humble 33-year-old champion says. “I really want to show my countrymen the improvements in my skill level. That is something I want to show them when I fight here in Manila.”
Folayang, who is also a wushu SEA Games gold medalist and national champion, holds a 17-5 MMA record. The Team Lakay product is riding a three-fight win streak, and most recently defeated Shinya Aoki via third-round TKO for the prestigious lightweight belt at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR this past November.
Though Folayang has performed flawlessly, Ev Ting may have his number. After all, the man known as “E.T.” has been kryptonite so far for several of Folayang’s Baguio City brothers.
Ting owns a stellar 13-3 record, with four of those wins coming by TKO and another four by submission. More impressively, he has beaten four Filipinos in his last seven fights, two of which were the champ’s teammates, Edward Kelly and Honorio Banario.
Folayang has paid close attention to his friends’ downfalls and vows not to repeat their mistakes.
“For me, it is just a reminder that I do not want to have the same fate as them. They prepared for the fight and they forgot something about Ev Ting’s [game], so I am really preparing well for him,” Folayang says.
“The main priority is to give my best performance for this fight, especially because I am defending the belt here in the Philippines. I do not want to have the same loss my teammates have experienced with him.”
With his complete focus on the task at hand, “The Landslide” will spend the rest of his training camp preparing for the championship tilt in Baguio City with head coach Mark Sangiao and the rest of his Team Lakay brethren.
Needless to say, he envisions leaving the Mall Of Asia Arena on Fight Night with the belt firmly strapped around his waist.
“It will either be a stoppage or a decision. For Eduard Folayang, of course,” he predicts, smiling.