Issue of October 7, 2018
Mt. Province

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Folayang to face Khan for ONE world belt on Nov 23
by Harley F. Palangchao

BACK ON TRACK -- Filipino mixed martial arts fighter Eduard Folayang is set to regain his ONE lightweight world when he faces Amir Khan of Singapore in a world title bout set in Manila on Nov. 23. -- ONE photo

Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang, the poster boy of mixed martial arts in the Philippines, hopes to regain the belt when he faces Amir Khan in Manila on Nov. 23.

ONE Chief Executive Officer Chatri Sityodtong announced on Oct. 1 that the 34-year-old Folayang is relentless in his training here and abroad in a bid to reclaim the title and can go down as the greatest Filipino MMA fighter in his generation.

The ONE lightweight world belt has been deemed vacant after two-division world champion Martin Nguyen relinquished the belt due to injury during training and will concentrate as a champion in the featherweight division.

Folayang, who has 20 wins and six losses, earned a crack for a title shot after foiling the ONE debuts of two previous undefeated Russian fighters Kharun Atlangeriev in May and Aziz Pahrudinov in July.

The Igorot fighter clinched the ONE lightweight belt with a third round technical knockout of Shinya Aoki in November 2016 and defended the belt against EV Ting in April 2017.

Nguyen, who knocked out Folayang in November 2017, captured the title. Since then, Folayang showed tremendous improvement in standing and ground games.

The Igorot warrior also trained for almost a month at Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. The gym is one of the best MMA centers in the world that produced champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“Eduard wants to reclaim his title and go down as the greatest Filipino martial artist in history,” Sit-yodtong said.

Khan recently defeated Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario via first-round rear-naked choke.

This will be Khan’s first opportunity to challenge for a world championship.

“Amir wants to become Singapore’s first homegrown world champion in history, and stamp his legacy as the greatest Singaporean martial artist the world has ever seen,” Sityodtong said.

Sityodtong also announced that whoever will emerge the new ONE lightweight world champion will have a challenger already in waiting, as a number one contender will be decided in a title-eliminator match-up between top contenders Aoki and Ting, who are scheduled to fight on Oct. 6 in Thailand.

“Barring any injuries or unforeseen circumstances, I fully expect the winner between Ev and Shinya will face the winner in Tokyo between Eduard and Amir in Manila,” Sityodtong said.

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