Two former world champions will clash at the second part of “ONE: Century 世紀.” Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario, 29, of Team Lakay will fight former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 36, of Japan at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on October 13, 2019.
If there is someone who knows the challenge that awaits Banario, it is his Team Lakay teammate Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34. Also a former ONE Lightweight World Champion, Folayang has fought Aoki twice.
Folayang first took on Aoki at “ONE: Defending Honor” where the Filipino mixed martial arts star was able to score a technical knockout win in the third round and was crowned as the ONE Lightweight World Champion. The two met again at “ONE: A New Era” where the Japanese MMA veteran clinched a stunning arm-triangle choke victory in the first round to regain his title.
Folayang and Banario are the only lightweight fighters in Team Lakay. Given his experience, the former willingly wants to help the latter in his training.
The two Team Lakay athletes know Aoki holds most of his victories by submission but that does not mean he is invulnerable. The majority of the Japanese fighter’s losses also came from knockouts.
Fortunately, Banario packs a wallop in his punches. Folayang said, “Honorio knows how dangerous Shinya is on the ground.”
“We worked together on his takedown defense, escaping from holds, the movement inside the cage and reminding him not to commit any mistakes as much as possible,” Folayang continued. “We know that he has been knocked out several times before and I think that is his weakness.”
“Honorio’s striking is superior compared to Shinya so we told him to keep his distance and time his strikes,” Folayang continued. “As his partner in the lightweight division, I am doing what I can to help him out, but he is doing very well in training.”
In 2019, Banario had ups and downs. He was eliminated in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals by undefeated fighter Lowen Tynanes, 28, of Hawaii, United States at “ONE: Hero’s Ascent” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on January 25, 2019.
On April 6, 2019, Banario married Jessica Olsim, his girlfriend for almost eight years. The former ONE Featherweight World Champion then joined Folayang and their Team Lakay teammates Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, 35, former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 30, and Danny “The King” Kingad, 23, at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes.”
However, Banario fell short to Dae Sung “Crazy Dog” Park, 26, of South Korea at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes,” which took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on August 2, 2019. On the very same day, Banario’s wife gave birth to their son Zeus Thorenstone Banario.
For Folayang, all the things that happened to Banario in 2019 boosted his physical and mental state. Banario is in the best condition and will not disappoint at “ONE: Century 世紀,” Folayang declared.
“His motivation and mindset are at the highest right now,” Folayang said of Banario. “He recently got married, became a father, and coming in from a loss.”
“Those factors have a huge contribution to keeping himself focused during training,” Folayang continued. “At ‘ONE: Century,’ (this) will be one of his biggest matches and we are confident that he will do well.”
Meanwhile, here is one of Banario’s most memorable moments in the ONE Championship cage: