By Jun Ray Navarres
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang aims to prove he’s a better fighter than Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki when they lock horns for the third time.
The two legends will meet in a rubber match at ONE on TNT IV which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on April 28 (April 29 in Philippines).
The two mixed martial arts icon first met in March of 2019 where Folayang ended the fight via technical knockout (punches) in the third round. This match marked Folayang’s reign as ONE Lightweight World Champion.
However, Aoki managed to even the score when he submitted (arm-triangle choke) Folayang in their second meeting last November 2019.
A trilogy is a must to settle the score between the two fighters.
“This will be a monumental test for me. It’s a sudden change of our preparation, but I’m a professional athlete, so I have to be prepared for anything, at any given time. I have to be ready to calibrate for what will be served for that perfect aim,” Folayang told ONE Championship.
“I am not a pessimistic person, and I’m a warrior. Naturally, I’m not expecting to lose, but to get the big victory this time.”
Folayang was supposed to meet Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama for his return but the latter dropped out due to an injury. Meanwhile, Aoki’s original opponent, Sage Northcutt was also forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
This series of events made way for the trilogy to happen.
“This is the last event of the ‘ONE on TNT’ series, so it’s meant to be, and it’s going to be a great one for fans. A lot of people have been waiting for this trilogy with Folayang,” said Aoki.
“Looking back at the past two fights against him, I am very motivated to perform well. This fight is a great one for ONE Championship. I think this fight has a lot of meaning. It’s fate that we meet again. As always, I will fight anyone, because I am a proud wrestler and fighter.”
Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports