Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, 35, of the United States was one of the winners at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes.” It was the first ONE Championship victory of the American mixed martial artist who is training out of Ricardo Almeida BJJ in Robbinsville Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA.
Featuring 13 mixed martial arts matches and two Muay Thai matches, “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. In the 12th bout of the evening, Alvarez faced former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, of the Philippines in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semi-final bout with Olivier Coste as the referee.
Folayang attacked Alvarez with a blitz of strikes to open the contest. A low kick brought the latter to the mat.
But Alvarez was able to sweep Folayang to wind up in mount. From there, the American contender took his Filipino opponent’s back.
Coste put a stop to the contest after 2 minutes and 16 seconds in the first round when Alvarez submitted Folayang via rear-naked choke. This means the American fighter will face Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev, 24, of Turkey in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix grand finals.
“I imagined this, pictured this in my head, my team and I saw this in my head,” Alvarez said in his post-fight interview with Mitch Chilson inside the ring. “We persevered, dealt with adversity and came out with the W.”
Including the Philippines and the U.S., 12 countries were represented at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes.” The other countries were Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.
Folayang was one of the five hometown heroes on the card. Alvarez was one of the three representatives of the U.S.
“ONE: Dawn of Heroes” marked the second ONE Championship outing of Alvarez. When he made his promotional debut, he lost via knockout to Timofey Nastyukhin, 29, of Russia.
More photos of the bout between Folayang and Alvarez are on Top Sports Asia. Here is a clip from the “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” press conference: