Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, of the Philippines faced three ONE Championship opponents in 2019. After losing to Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 36, of Japan and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, 30, of the United States, the Igorot mixed martial artist training out of Team Lakay gym in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines defeated Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhuu, 29, of Mongolia.
Folayang was submitted by Aoki via arm triangle choke at “ONE: A New Era” at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on March 31, 2019 and by Alvarez via rear-naked choke at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on August 2, 2019. On November 8, 2019, Folayang defeated Tsogookhuu via technical decision at “ONE: Masters of Fate” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“2019 has been an absolute roller coaster ride for me,” Folayang said. “I started the year off as champion but fell short of victory against Shinya in Tokyo.”
“That’s a loss that I learned a lot from and it was a very tough experience to deal with,” the Igorot MMA veteran continued. “I can honestly say, however, that I am a much better martial artist because of it.”
At “ONE: Dawn of Heroes,” Folayang dominated Alvarez in the early going. But the American MMA fighter turned the corner and scored a come-from-behind victory on the strength of his wrestling and submission skills.
Alvarez secured a rear-naked choke midway through the first round. The former UFC Lightweight Champion and former Bellator Lightweight World Champion earned a spot in the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Championship final, which he eventually relinquished due to injury.
Although it was another painful setback, Folayang realizes the value of facing an American MMA icon. The Igorot MMA superfighter said, “After facing Eddie Alvarez of course, it was another learning experience for me.”
“Being able to face one of the best fighters in the world, who is a former UFC and Bellator World Champion, it was a huge honor,” Folayang continued. “I feel like I was winning that fight and then one mistake and I’m on the losing end. I won’t make that same mistake again next time.”
On January 31, 2020, Folayang will return to the SM Mall of Asia Arena. He will face Ahmed “Wolverine” Mujtaba, 26, of Pakistan in the co-main event of “ONE: Fire and Fury.”