By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FILIPINO fighter Eduard “Landslide” Folayang begins 2020 with ONE Championship later this month as he is featured in the main card for “ONE: Fire & Fury” on Jan. 31 against Pakistani Ahmed “The Wolverine” Mujtaba.
It is a fight that the veteran mixed martial artist is viewing with much significance after a rough ride he had in his career last year.
Mr. Folayang (22-8), the former ONE world lightweight champion, seeks to begin the new year on a winning note, all in the hopes of having it set the tone for him as he makes another push to reclaim the title in his division.
Last year, 36-year-old Mr. Folayang went 1-2 in three fights, losing his first two fights against Shinya Aoki of Japan in March, where he lost his title, and to American Eddie Alvarez in August, before hacking out a win against Tsogookhuu Amarsana of Mongolia by way of technical decision in November.
The 2019 result he had, he said, left him greatly motivated heading into his upcoming fight.
“[The year] 2019 [was] an absolute roller-coaster ride for me. I started the year as champion but fell short of victory against Shinya [Aoki] in Tokyo. That’s a loss that I learned a lot from and it was a very tough experience to deal with,” Mr. Folayang said.
“After facing Eddie Alvarez of course, it was another learning experience for me,” he added.
In pushing for a turnaround, the Team Lakay stalwart said solid work has to be put in, something he has been mindful of doing as he prepares for Mr. Mujtaba (7-2).
“As a martial artist, I’m always learning and growing. I still feel like I’m at the top of my division, and I want to get back in contention in 2020. The lightweight division is one of the toughest in ONE Championship, and I want to reclaim the title again for my Filipino fans. I’m hungry as ever for victory. I will be back on top. It’s all about that mindset. With the help of God, I’ll be champion again,” said Mr. Folayang.
The Folayang-Mujtaba fight is part of ONE: Fire & Fury which is headlined by the world strawweight title fight between Joshua “The Passion” Pacio of the Philippines an Alex “Little Rock” Silva of Brazil.
Other Filipinos set to see action in the event are flyweight Danny Kingad, strawweight Lito Adiwang, and women atomweight fighters Gina Iniong and Jomary Torres.
Fire & Fury is to happen at the Mall of Asia Arena.