September 26, 2023
BACK TO WINNING FORM — Two-time ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang expressed willingness to fight either American world karate champion Sage Northcutt under Muay Thai rules, or Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan under mixed martial arts rules following his successful Muay Thai super series debut against the legendary John Wayne Parr in ONE X in Singapore on March 26. Folayang received P500,000 incentive from Benguet caretaker Eric Yap. — ONE photo

Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang expressed his interest to fight former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Sage Northcutt in an all-stroking bout, particularly under Muay Thai rules.
Folayang’s martial arts career has been given new life following his unanimous decision win against 18-time kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion John Wayne Parr in ONE X at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 26.
It was a successful Muay Thai super series debut for the 38-year-old Folayang after competing in mixed martial arts rules in various MMA promotions for more than a decade.
“I still have a purpose in mixed martial arts but if they want karate versus wushu, probably Sage Northcutt. He is a karate guy and I am a wushu guy, probably we can fight in Muay Thai rules,” Folayang said.
The 26-year-old Northcutt remains one of the best strikers in his generation having won 77 world titles as a youth and was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame in 2012.
While competing in MMA, he also posted an undefeated 15-0 kickboxing record.
Assuming ONE Championship will schedule an MMA bout for Folayang, the Igorot fighter said he wants to fight Yoshihiro Akiyama next.
He said a fight between him and Akiyama is expected to excite the fans considering that the Japanese fighter is also considered a legend.
The 46-year-old Akiyama has proven to the world he still has more fights ahead of him when he bounced back from a near submission to stop fellow Japanese legend Shinya Aoki via second-round technical knockout in round two in ONE X.
“Maybe we can bring in Akiyama. He really performed well against Shinya. It’s almost identical to the way I beat Shinya. I think this is a good match to make. We were supposed to face each other before but it got canceled. If it happens, it will definitely be explosive. The crowd will definitely be on their feet,” Folayang said.
Folayang and Akiyama were supposed to fight in 2021 but the Japanese fighter withdrew from the bout due to injury he sustained in training.
“Akiyama is someone I really look up to considering his longevity. He has been here a long time. Maybe we can put on a legend-versus-legend two. We’re done with legend-versus-legend one, so let’s do this,” Folayang added.– Harley F. Palangchao