Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang: Shinya Aoki will always be a legend in my eyes

'ONE: A New Era' poster

The main event of “ONE: A New Era” is between the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion and a Japanese mixed martial arts veteran who formerly held the title. Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 35, of Shizuoka, Japan will challenge Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, of Baguio City, Philippines, who is training out of Team Lakay.

“ONE: A New Era” will take place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on March 31, 2019. It will be ONE Championship’s first ever event to be held in the country.

“Shinya is and will always be a legend in my eyes,” Folayang stated. “That being said, I’m preparing to take him out on March 31st. In my mind, I finish him within the distance.”

It will be the second time Folayang and Aoki are facing each other inside the ONE Championship cage. Both the Filipino striker and the Japanese submission artist are ready to headline the biggest event the promotion has put together.

Folayang knows he has to put together the best performance of his career so he is looking for an abrupt end to the scheduled five-round title tiff. For the Team Lakay fighter, keeping focused on a legend he holds so much respect for is order number one.

“I have the utmost respect for Shinya,” Folayang said. “In my opinion, he’s a terrific martial artist and a true martial arts hero. He’s been around for so long and he’s faced the best in the sport. I am certainly not taking him lightly.”

Aoki became the ONE Lightweight World Champion on April 5, 2013. But after two successful title defenses, the Japanese MMA veteran was dethroned by Folayang on November 11, 2016.

“I am dedicating this match to our Lord, my family, to my teammates at Team Lakay, and all the fans in the Philippines,” Folayang said. “I will do my best to finish this guy within the distance and not put the result in the hands of the judges.”

Meanwhile, here is Folayang and his fellow Team Lakay fighters:

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