After defeating an undefeated Russian opponent, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang from Team Lakay of Baguio City, Philippines is facing yet another undefeated fighter from Russia. In a recent interview with ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, I asked him if it was just coincidental.
Folayang reigned as the ONE Lightweight World Champion from November 11, 2016 to November 10, 2017. He lost the title to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 29, of Australia and Vietnam, who is now the reigning ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion.
Following the loss to Nguyen, Folayang defeated Kharun “Predator” Atlangeriev, 25, of Dagestan, Russia in the lightweight division at “ONE: Unstoppable Dreams” on May 18, 2018 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. It was Atlangeriev’s first ONE Championship bout and first loss as a professional MMA fighter.
On July 27, 2018, Folayang will compete again in the lightweight division at “ONE: Reign of Kings” against Aziz Pahrudinov, 29, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The latter is also from Dagestan and an undefeated fighter competing in ONE Championship for the first time.
On July 24, 2018, Folayang and Pahrudinov had their face-off during the “ONE: Reign of Kings” press conference at the City of Dreams Manila in Paranaque, Metro Manila. During the event, Sityodtong clarified to the media that the Team Lakay fighter is still one of the top contenders in the ONE Championship lightweight division and is not a gatekeeper.
“No, I think it’s by pure luck, you know,” Sityodtong told me when I asked him if it was a coincidence that Folayang is facing two undefeated Russian opponents consecutively. “What we want to do definitely is give Eduard a tough, tough tests and he shined in the last one.”
Pahrudinov holds a professional MMA record of 20 wins and 0 loss. If Folayang breaks Pahrudinov’s clean record, the Team Lakay fighter will be given either a title shot or a bout for the number one contender of the lightweight division of ONE Championship, according to Sityodtong.
Currently, Folayang has 19 wins and 6 losses. “ONE: Reign of Kings” marks his 14th ONE Championship bout.
Watch my interview with the ONE Championship chairman and CEO here: