Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will get a shot at redemption when he takes on his dream opponent, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on 2 August at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Folayang relinquished the ONE Lightweight World Championship to Japanese grappling legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki at ONE: NEW ERA in March. The Team Lakay athlete will enter the Alvarez bout at a critical time in his career, and a win would likely put him at the front of the line once more for another shot at the belt.
“My journey as a World Champion is like a roller coaster,” said Folayang.
“There are times when I am a World Champion and people look up to me. There are also times when I am defeated, so I will try again to climb the ladder to get the belt back.
“I got it, but lost it again this time. I think the most challenging part is how to get yourself back on the winning track. We are going to start again. That is not something new to us,” he added.
Despite his recent setbacks, Folayang wants to continue to improve his skills and bounce back strong.
“One of the things that I learned in my career so far is to never stop learning and improving as much as possible because you should realize that everyone is aiming to become a [World] Champion,” said Folayang.
“As an athlete, if you start to think that you are good, you will no longer grow. [That is why] as much as possible, I want to learn to be better, sharpen my strengths, and improve my weaknesses.”
Before he puts another digit in the win column though, Folayang will have to go through another former multiple-time World Champion in Alvarez who is in desperate need of a win after losing his ONE debut.
“I think Eddie is a good martial artist – you will not become a World Champion if you don’t have a good approach to being a martial artist,” Folayang said.
“I believe wrestling and boxing are his strengths, but if you’ll look at Eddie’s track record, you will see that almost all his defeats are from high-level strikers – that is his weakness. It’s hard, but I am pushing myself to prepare.”
The Filipino athlete remains optimistic of his chances against the American and is looking to beat him by way of knockout.
“A knockout and submission will always be there if you are in the proper position – that is a given,” he said. “I think it will end in a knockout.”
Fortunately for Folayang, he won’t be facing Alvarez alone as he will have the entire crowd behind him in Manila.
“Having this bout here in the Philippines gives me confidence,” he concluded. “Those are what give me the confidence to face him in this bout – my preparation and the crowd.”
Additionally, ONE Championship is launching special edition merchandise to commemorate the blockbuster Eduard Folayang vs Eddie Alvarez bout which takes place at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES. The commemorative t-shirt will be available for sale at the Mall of Asia Arena on 2 August.