The face of Philippine mixed martial arts is now the kingpin of ONE Championship’s Lightweight division.
With a thunderous knee, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang ended his five-year odyssey, stopping living legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki 40 seconds into the third round to win the ONE Lightweight World Championship in the main event of ONE Championship: Defending Honor, Saturday evening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“I’m just so happy but it’s now a new responsibility for me,” the 31-year-old Wushu practitioner said.
Entering the bout, Aoki was the overwhelming favorite as he rode a nine-fight winning streak – winning all five of his bouts in ONE Championship. In addition, his last loss in Asian soil came against Hayato “Mach” Sakurai back in April of 2008.
“I thank Shinya because he accepted the challenge and he really gave me a good fight,” added the Benguet-native as confetti rained from the rafters and the crowd, which was stunned for a moment, serenaded him with cheers.
And Folayang had to dig deep to get the win.
Aoki, a black belt in the arts of Judo and Brazilian Jiujitsu, had his way Folayang in the opening round, taking the challenger down with ease. With the ground game being is world, the Japanese champion transitioned with ease and even attempted a rear naked choke early in the match.
“Shinya’s a very strong ground fighter. He is improving in his stand-up [as well],” Folayang said of his highly-regarded opponent.
The three-time SEA Games gold medalist used his upper body strength to kip right back up but was immediately taken down again after a failed flying knee attempt.
Getting a feel of Aoki’s game, Folayang kept the fight standing-up in the second round. The Team Lakay standout was loose, becoming creative with his striking that threw Aoki off of his gameplan. He peppered Aoki with leg kicks and body punches to keep his opponent at bay in the next five minutes.
“I just trained hard for this fight. I just [want] to thank the people around me for helping me prepare for this fight,” a grateful Folayang said.
Knowing the strength of Folayang’s strikes, Aoki immediately went for a shoot to start the third canto but was met with a well-timed knee that stunned “Tobikan Judan.” Sensing blood, “Landslide” landed at least 20 unanswered strikes on his downed opponent before referee Yuji Shimada had seen enough.
Folayang immediately crumbled to his knees upon the realization that he had just done the unthinkable. He was able to put his name in the history books, adding to the short list of Filipino warriors that have become world champions in the world of martial arts.
With the win, Folayang extended his winning streak to three fights, 17-5 overall. Moreover, he became the third-ever Filipino world champion in the sport, joining current-Heavyweight champion Brandon Vera and former Bantamweight champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario – the latter his stablemate at Team Lakay.
Aoki drops to 38-7, 1NC, 5-1 inside the ONE cage.
Donayre still looking for that elusive win
Dubai-based Filipino fighter Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre just could not get a break as he was submitted by Evolve MMA standout Amir Khan during the undercard of ONE Championship: Defending Honor.
The 37-year-old tapped out to a rear naked choke with 2:22 left in the contest.
But Donayre gets an A for effort, giving a brave stand in front of a partisan Singaporean crowd.
“I felt like I was dying but I’d rhater die in my hometown,” Khan, who is now 6-2 in his prized fighting career, said.
After being taken down with ease during the first five minutes of the three-round match-up, the Cebu-born fighter was able to turn things around in the second round. Donayre scored on his first take down of the match-up. Khan though easily escaped but “The Spawn” had other ideas, not letting go of his arm and was able to lock in an ultra-tight kimura. The 22-year-old’s heart thought helped him survive the submission and the round.
Donayre tried to slug it out with Khan to open the third round but was immediately taken down by his opponent. The Singaporean then turned the bout into a BJJ exhibition, seamlessly transitioning into the full mount before gaining the Filipino’s back. He quickly sinked his arms around Donayre’s neck for a rear naked choke. The Cebuano had no other choice but to tap out.
This is Donayre’s fourth straight loss, all coming inside the ONE cage. He is now 8-6 in his MMA career.