On March 31, 2018, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 35, of Shizuoka, Japan will challenge reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, of Baguio City, Philippines in the main event of “ONE: A New Era” the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. The defending champion recently expressed how much he respects the challenger.
“He’s the greatest submission artist in mixed martial arts history,” Folayang said of Aoki. “I couldn’t be happier to headline this event against him. It is an honor.”
“ONE: A New Era” is the first ONE Championship event to be held in Japan and the main event is a rematch between Folayang and Aoki. The Japanese challenger gets the chance to rematch his tormentor after working his way back up the lightweight ladder with three impressive wins.
“I knew at one point or another, I would be facing Shinya again,” Folayang said. “It was inevitable. He was quickly coming back up and I had just won the title again. Plus, the huge Japan event was announced. I anticipated defending the lightweight belt against him there. “
Folayang was happy to show the world his improvements, especially in the grappling aspect of his game after learning that he will be defending his title against Aoki. To be able to do that against a man known as the Grandmaster of Flying Submissions would be a testament of the Baguio City native’s hard work.
The reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion knows that Aoki is very dangerous when the action hits the mat. Training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines, the Filipino champ has been putting in the extra work to fortify his takedown defense to keep the action on the feet.
With an entire nation sitting squarely on his shoulders, Folayang aims to notch what would perhaps be the biggest victory in his career thus far. He said, “Nevertheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to once again face this legend.”
“As much as possible, I will not give him the opportunity to bring me down to the mat,” the Team Lakay fighter continued. “It all boils down to how well I defend myself from his takedowns, knowing how expertly he moves with this sole purpose in mind. Takedown defense is a very important part of my training right now, and I am constantly improving in this area.”
Meanwhile, here is Folayang in an open workout in the Philippines: