By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FILIPINO mixed martial arts veteran Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is set to make his return in the ONE Championship circle later this month in a fight against Australian Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso.
Last fought in ONE in January where he absorbed a split decision loss, Mr. Folayang (22-9) of Team Lakay ends his nine-month hiatus brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and looks to get back on the winning track at “ONE: Inside the Matrix” in Singapore on Oct. 30.
“I’m so excited to be back in action again, especially since having to wait so long in lockdown. We’ve been eagerly anticipating when we will be able to return to competition, and I am glad that moment has finally arrived. We’re absolutely pumped and training very hard right now to put on a good show,” said Mr. Folayang, who has been training by himself and with his team in Baguio City all this time.
“The past few months have been very difficult for all of us. Everyone in the world has been affected by COVID-19, especially here in the Philippines. It posed a few challenges for our training early on as we had to stay at home and practice social distancing. Even in isolation, the work never stopped and we used our time to sharpen our tools and skills,” he added.
In his last fight, Mr. Folayang, 35, failed to make it back-to-back wins in ONE, losing to Dutch Peter “The Archangel” Buist by split decision.
A short-notice replacement opponent, Mr. Buist’s length proved problematic for Mr. Folayang.
He tried to find ways to better fight his opponent, but in the end, two of three judges saw the bout in favor of Mr. Buist.
Against Mr. Caruso, the Filipino is bracing for a tough challenge, but confident that they are prepared heading into it.
“Antonio Caruso is a strong fighter. I’ve seen his previous fights. I don’t think he’s a guy you can really take lightly. Of course, I am doing everything I can to prepare for his style. As usual, it’s going to be about dictating the pace and making him fight my fight. You can’t underestimate anyone in this game, so I’m not about to start with him,” he said.
Adding, “We’ve come up with a strong game plan, I believe. And we have all the bases covered. Whether this fight is spent on the feet or ends up on the ground, I’ll be ready.”
ONE: Inside the Matrix is highlighted by four world title fights, headlined by the middleweight world championship clash between champion Aung La Nsang of Myanmar against challenger Reinier De Rigger of the Netherlands.
Co-headlining is lightweight champion Christian Lee of Singapore versus Moldova’s Iuri Lapicus.
Featherweight champ Martin Nguyen of Vietnam/Australia, meanwhile, clashes with Thanh Lee of Vietnam/United States while women’s strawweight champion Xiong Jing Nan of China tries to defend her belt against Tiffany Yeo of Singapore (SG).