Folayang predicts submission win vs Aoki in ONE title defense
MANILA, Philippines – ONE Championship lightweight king Eduard Folayang brims with confidence with his progress throughout the years, so much so that he predicts to beat Shinya Aoki at his own game in his title defense.
Dismantling the Japanese via technical knockout in 2016 to win the lightweight belt for the first time, the Filipino has no plans to see their championship rematch go the distance.
The bout serves as the main event for the ONE: A New Era card, which also features 3 other title fights, slated on March 31 in Tokyo, Japan.
"I think I have an advantage because of my mental and spiritual strength," Folayang said.
"I have improved quite a bit myself, especially with the simple details in technique for takedowns and the ground game."
"As much as possible, I won't let it go to the scorecards. Personally, I want to predict that I'll win via submission."
But Folayang, who has won 3 straight fights via unanimous decision – the last coming against Singapore's Amir Khan to bag the vacant lightweight belt – does not necessarily underestimate Aoki.
A master of grappling, Aoki has finished all of his last 3 bouts through first-round stoppages, ending two through submissions and the other one through TKO.
"He finished all his opponents in the first round, so that means he's really determined and prepared to reclaim his belt," Folayang said.
"I think he's still the best at what he does, which is grappling, and that's where I need to be more careful now more than ever."
Joining Folayang are fellow Team Lakay members Kevin Belingon, who will defend his ONE bantamweight title against Brazil's Bibiano Fernandes, and Danny Kingad, who will participate in the flyweight grand prix. – Rappler.com
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