The pair of lightweight stars will clash in the main event of the previously recorded ONE: Battleground II, which airs on Friday, August 13, from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in a match that could potentially dictate the Filipino’s trajectory.
“The preparation has been well. We’ve trained for about six weeks for this match,” Folayang said.
“We all know the magnitude of this match for my career. It hasn’t been a good stretch so far, so I really have to win this in order to keep floating and get that first win for me this year.”
Zhang comes into ONE Championship with momentum, having won 21 of his last 24 bouts over the past six years in China – a feat that includes 17 finishes.
While Folayang has been struggling as of late, dropping five of his last six bouts, Zhang believes his opponent is so much better than what his past run suggests.
After all, Folayang has consistently fought top competition while staying competitive in all but one of those losses.
That’s why “The Warrior,” while confident, is heading into this match extra cautious considering he has a tricky debut ahead of him.
“Folayang is a fighter with excellent stand-up techniques. Because he used to practice wushu sanda, every punch and every kick he throws is hefty. To fight him, I have to be ready at all times,” Zhang told ONEFC.com.
“Folayang’s stand-up skills are very good. I saw he knocked out many people when I watched his [competitions]. But [he also has] ground skills. After someone took him down, he could get up very fast. He also did an outstanding job on some of the ground control movements.”
Knowing Folayang’s strength is on the feet, Zhang shared that taking him down and working on him on the mat remains a viable option.
However, it’s something that Folayang has been expecting and hopes to overcome this time around.
“Zhang is a striker. [But] if he feels like he has an advantage on the ground, he’ll pursue it. I think that’s his main style. He adjusts well on the fly,” Folayang said.
“I have to be prepared. As much as possible, he’ll try to get this match to the ground. For us, we’ve been preparing for that, so hopefully the execution will be much better this time around.”
At the end of the day, expect both men to put it all on the line when the Circle door closes this Friday.
“I’m going to have a great match against Folayang. He always fights aggressively with heavy punches and heavy kicks,” Zhang said.
“My style is pretty [aggressive] as well, so it will be an exciting fight and we will give our best to the fans of ONE Championship.”
Folayang, however, knows he needs this win to further his career.
“The mentality is to win this one. This is a very important fight. This is one of those steps for me to be closer to my goal,” Folayang said. – Rappler.com
ONE Sports and ONE Sports+ will cut to the broadcast at 9 pm Philippine time on Friday, August 13. Download the ONE Super App for more info.
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