It was just a recent while ago when the “Landslide” of Philippines, Eduard Folayang shocked MMA fans throughout Asia by dethroning then King of ONE Championship’s Lightweight division and submission maestro Shinya Aoki, in what was heralded as a major upset victory of 2016. The fight was a classic stylistic match up of elite striker versus grappler, in which Eduard Folayang delivered a performance for the ages and we have the data to support it!
…Eduard Folayang delivered a performance for the ages and we have the data to support it!
Shinya Aoki is a highly decorated veteran who’s a wizard of the ground game and owns an illustrious winning record across multiple MMA promotions worldwide. He entered the match with an unbeaten 5–0 record in ONE Championship and was heavily favored to win and retain his title. But the underdog from Baguio, Philippines exuded a quiet confidence heading into the fight, almost as if only him, his team, and the nation’s legions of astute MMA fans knew differently…
As the stats show when broken down by rounds, Folayang began by patiently sizing up the offense of Aoki, withstanding all of Aoki’s threats when the fight continually went to the mat and into the grappling master’s territory, where Folayang was able to fend off all set up attempts for submissions and could repeatedly scramble successfully back on his feet.
The second round marks the turning point of the fight, as we saw Folayang exhibit full confidence in his defense and began pouring on offensively, hurting Aoki incrementally with optimal hits to the body in the clinch and from distance. The third round opened with Aoki apparently not wanting to engage any further in the stand up, as he eagerly shot in for a takedown. This created the opportunity for “Landslide” to land a devastating counter knee that rocked Aoki and what follows marked a new chapter in ONE Lightweight Championship history, as we know it!
That’s a hallmark of an elite competitor who approaches fights intelligently…
A stark evidence of the new Champion’s evolution in MMA was his impeccable ground defense on display and counter offensive game plan employed against Aoki. That’s a hallmark of an elite competitor who approaches fights intelligently and is able to add crucial elements to his repertoire, evolving his skills specifically for the opponent. This is the testament of Team Lakay making a huge statement as a legit championship caliber fight camp in Asia.
The team’s roster of fighters in ONE Championship has been on exhibition lately, spotting sharp improvements in their ground game and overall fight-intelligence. Team Lakay seems to have zeroed-in on a system that allows their superior striking style stemming from Wushu Sanshou to remain a constant threat, while being no slouches when the fight gets taken to the ground. Rising prospect Danny Kingad and always-dangerous contenders Honorio Banario and Edward Kelly are all gathering impressive win-streaks of their own. Even Joshua Pacio and April Osenio both showed great moments during their recent losses, of which I’m sure their bounce-back will be fun to watch!
…testament of Team Lakay making a huge statement as a legit championship caliber fight camp in Asia.
We have a lot to look forward to out of Team Lakay in 2017. And the biggest one up next shall be none other than the recently announced title defense of Eduard Folayang on 21st April, where the “Landslide” will be defending both his newly minted title and home cage in Manila. The world will be watching and the weight of a nation’s hopes to prevail shall rest heavily on the shoulders of the Champion. Whoever the opponent may be, one thing we are certain of is that the promotion will definitely be lining up a barnburner for the pinnacle of the ONE Lightweight division.
Follow us for more reports as this story develops. Feel free to let us know who you think deserves a crack at the Lightweight title come April.