Before ONE X, people doubted whether former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang would stand his ground against John Wayne “The Gunslinger” Parr under Muay Thai rules.
After all, the Australian has over three decades of experience in the discipline. Meanwhile, the Filipino mixed martial arts legend has never fought in ONE Super Series – though he has a wushu and kickboxing background.
Despite the odds, the 38-year-old competitor from Baguio City scored a unanimous decision victory over Parr at ONE X on 26 March at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
However, fellow Team Lakay athletes Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Jhanlo Sangiao weren’t surprised with the results at ONE Championship’s 10th-anniversary show.
“Even before the fight, I already knew that manong Eduard would win. I saw how he prepared. He and the team drilled well for his fight, and they studied his opponent thoroughly,” Sangiao said.
“Since the training camp of manong Eduard, I knew that he was going to win. I could read his eyes, the determination, and [his] need to prove something to the world,” said Pacio, the ONE Strawweight World Champion.
Folayang was indeed a man on a mission against Parr after a series of setbacks inside the Circle. But the fight itself against the Australian wasn’t a walk in the park, especially in the third round when the Boonchu Gym representative made a last-ditch effort to claim what would have been his 100th career victory.
“I think [Parr] caught kuya Eduard with a nice knee. The world knows that both of these guys are warriors, and they’re going to throw everything left in them in the final round, especially for Parr because it was his farewell fight. And honestly, that was the fight of the night right there,” Pacio said.
While this was the first all-striking battle Folayang has had during his 10-year career with ONE, Pacio and Sangiao credited his wushu background to completing the fantastic performance.
“I think the footwork we have in wushu hugely helped manong Eduard. He was not stationary; his movement was in and out, throwing shots, and his hands were finding a home,” Pacio said.
“His wushu skills and background helped him hugely. Remember that he was a multi-gold medalist in wushu, so he could catch up with a Muay Thai legend,” Sangiao pointed out.
Folayang’s triumph may lead him to focus on ONE Super Series and abandon MMA. But for Pacio, the victory proved that the icon still has limitless tricks up his sleeve.
“I think he can compete both in One Super Series and MMA. Like I’ve said, he is far from over, contrary to what some people are saying. They cannot measure what kuya Eduard can do, and I’m excited to see him compete again.”ONE Championship returns to live action with ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic on 22 April. Download the ONE Super App or visit ONEFC.com to stay updated with the latest news about the upcoming event.