May 23, 2024

Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will take his needed rest after a devastating loss against Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in their trilogy in ONE on TNT 4 on April 29 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

The 37-year-old Folayang, in his post-bout interview, said he prepared hard for the rematch but Aoki’s snake-like grip got the better of him but nonetheless praised his opponent for his win.

“I will have to rest and need to see how it goes. I wasn’t able to give the performance I want to give but I gave my best,” Folayang said.

It was a déjà vu moment for both fighters because just like their second bout in 2019, Folayang was taken down early on the first round and caught in the hold of Aoki, before being submitted through armbar at the 4:20 mark of the first round.  

The fight went quickly to the mat, 90 seconds into the first round with Aoki taking his time to look for an early submission. The Japanese grappler trapped both legs of Folayang before going on a full mount for a ground, while hitting with vicious elbow strikes.

Aoki then was able to get hold of Folayang’s left arm then went for an armbar, forcing the Filipino fighter to tap out.

The pair first met in 2016 when Folayang snatched the gold-plated strap from Aoki in Singapore via third-round technical knockout. Three years later, the Japanese legend emerged victorious via first-round submission.

This would be the third loss for Folayang, who suffered back-to-back losses in his two bouts last year, and now has 22 wins and 11 losses while Aoki, now has 47-9 record.

“This is MMA, everything happens. He’s like a snake, he’s very tight and he’s very calm on the ground. Huge congratulations to Shinya,” Folayang said.

Both athletes still treated the rematch as a friendly game, which is one of the three-bout lead cards, with Aoki praising Folayang after the fight. – Ofelia C. Empian