2018 has been one of the best years in the 11-year professional career of Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
After scoring impressive victories over two undefeated Russians to start his 2018 campaign, the Filipino superstar punctuated his year by reclaiming his ONE Lightweight World Title.
The 35-year-old Baguio City native was in his unstoppable form when he dominated Singapore’s Amir Khan over the course of five rounds at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS last November.
As he welcomes 2019 as a lionized champion sitting atop the 77.1-kilogram weight class, Folayang is more motivated than ever to defend his gold-plated strap against all worthy challengers in the talent-filled bracket.
“I am here to prove that I am the champion for a reason. I will never back down from any challenge,” he declared.
However, he will have his hands full in his first defense since recapturing the lightweight crown over a month ago as he is slated to share the cage with Japanese legend Shinya Aoki.
Both men are set to face each in the main event of ONE: A NEW ERA, which takes place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
Folayang and Aoki first met inside the cage at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in November 2016, with the Filipino dynamo pulling off a stunning upset victory over the Japanese legend.
Branded as a heavy underdog in the first bout, “Landslide” overcame insurmountable odds by executing a perfectly-devised game plan en route to a third-round technical knockout to capture the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Ever since having his hand raised against the man known as the most decorated lightweight in Asian mixed martial arts history, Folayang knew that a second meeting with Aoki is inevitable.
“I knew that I will someday cross paths again with Shinya Aoki ever since our first encounter in 2016. It is an honor to share the cage with him for the second time,” he said.
“Aoki has been on a hot streak ever since losing the ONE Lightweight World Title. I can tell that he is hungry to get the belt back, seeing his past performances against world-class competition.”