Multiple-time former ONE Lightweight World Champions Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki are set to settle the score once and for all in their storied rivalry and Folayang is aptly preparing for an all-out barnburner knowing how important this bout is at this stage of his career.
The two veterans will square off for the third and perhaps final time at “ONE on TNT IV,” which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Wednesday, April 28 (Thursday, April 29 in Asia).
The 37-year-old “Landslide” is fully aware he’s running out of time in his quest for another title run. Not to mention this bout has a big impact to his legacy when he finally decide to hang up the gloves.
“This next fight is very important. It’s an important juncture in my career. Right now, the team is helping me prepare as always, and I am highly motivated to get this win. I have a pack of ferocious lions behind me, helping me sharpen my tools,” said Folayang.
“I’m ready to go to war. Mentally and physically, I’m going to bring the best Eduard Folayang to the Circle.”
Folayang and Aoki have met twice before, the first time in 2016, when “Landslide” shocked the world with a third-round technical knockout victory to commence his first reign as lightweight king.
They rematched in 2019, with Aoki taking home a quick first-round submission win.
That resulted to the current stand-off at one win each in their series.
One recurring theme in their bouts is the classic striker versus grappler dynamic. Folayang is a wushu specialist, while Aoki is widely considered one of the most dangerous grapplers in mixed martial arts history.
Folayang believes this fight will come down to who can execute their game plan more, and who can play to his strengths.
“Shinya is nicknamed the grandmaster of the flying submissions. The title itself invokes fear into any opponent. He’s a legend. But I like to think that with my time in this sport, fans know who I am and know what I bring to the table,” said Folayang.
“Nevertheless, I’m going to be well-prepared for the test he presents. I’m a striker through and through, but I will make the necessary adjustments for this fight. I am confident I will get my hands raised at the end.”
Folayang wants to turn back the clock and put in a vintage performance. He has the utmost confidence he can defeat Aoki again and reclaim his place among the division’s finest.
“There is no doubt in my mind. I want to show fans a strong, rejuvenated Eduard Folayang. I want to show them my best. I have faith in God, and I fight for my family, my teammates, and my countrymen. This is the most important fight of my career so far, and I will do everything I can to come out on top,” said Folayang.
“ONE on TNT IV” is the fourth and final installment of the “ONE on TNT” event series for the month of April. In the main event of “ONE on TNT IV,” reigning ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang will defend his title against former foe Vitaly Bigdash.
Also on the card, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez makes a quick turnaround and returns to the Circle.
By Armando M. Bolislis