February 25, 2024

Filipino mixed martial arts legend Eduard Folayang is confident he will perfectly execute a new game plan when he faces a new opponent in the co-main event of ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 31.
Folayang was supposed to fight Ahmed Mujtaba of Pakistan in the lightweight division but ONE announced the Filipino warrior will instead face Pieter Buist of the Netherlands.
The Team Lakay camp under coach Mark Sangiao remains undaunted by the latest development, as the Igorot fighter will have to execute a new game plan.
“The changes were unexpected but that is the sport. There are always unexpected things. Of course, the motivation is there. It does not change regardless of who we’re up against,” Folayang said. 
“I have competed against the best the division has to offer. We have intense training sessions and our focus is always there because I want to get my belt back. There are adjustments because he’s a new opponent, but I am confident that I and my team can figure this out the right way,” he added.
Just two weeks ago, Buist had no bouts on the horizon, but now he is set to face Folayang, one of Asia’s best and most decorated martial artists.
The Dutchman – who has posted a perfect 2-0 slate in ONE Championship so far – is confident he can make the most of his opportunity and silence the MOA crowd with a knockout win.
“I think I will finish him in the first or second round. He will try to keep me at bay with those sidekicks. It will be the same kind of fight as (Antonio) Caruso, who I faced last, but he really didn’t want to quit. I don’t think Folayang is a quitter, but look at what Eddie Alvarez did to him when he got to his back,” Buist said.
Humbled by the changes in opponents, Folayang showed respect to his opponent.
“He’s a talented athlete, we can see it in his record and his fights. There are a lot of things we need to look at during training sessions – and he’ll have a height and reach advantage as well. We have to adjust and study his strengths and weaknesses,” Folayang said.
“I have to find a way to close the distance and use his weakness. It might be challenging but this is where our ability to adjust will be tested. I have to show my flexibility as a professional athlete,” he added. – Harley F. Palangchao