By Jan Carlo Anolin
Two-time ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang isn’t giving up on his quest for a third title.
The 35-year-old Team Lakay veteran said miscalculations took a toll on his ‘painful’ and “disappointing” loss to Pieter Buist of the Netherlands in ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Friday night.
“Lukewarm [ang timpla],” Folayang said, when asked about the start of his 2020.
“Kagandahan doon nasa split naman. It means hindi malayo o nasa atin lang siguro kung ‘yung puso natin susuko. Pero tingin ko, hindi tayo sumusuko.”
Despite being at par on both ends in the first two rounds, the Dutchman’s 6-foot-2 height and reach advantage proved decisive especially in the last canto.
The last minute change of opponent turned out to be another hurdle for the 5-foot-7 Folayang after committing time to improve his ground game.
In two weeks notice, the 31-year-old Buist (17-4) stepped up for Pakistani grappler Ahmed Mujtaba.
Folayang said no one in Team Lakay has the height and reach of Buist, putting them at a grave disadvantage.
“Magsisinungaling ako ‘pag sinabi kong ‘di painful [‘yung talo,]” Folayang said, who slipped to a 22-9 record.
In the crucial third round, Buist countered the Filipino fighter’s low kick with a head kick stunner.
Buist attempted a guillotine choke but Folayang, pressed against the cage walls, escaped, but only barely.
The Team Lakay veteran looked for the finish in the last minute but Buist recovered and came back on his feet as time expired.
“Doon ko na-realize na talagang matangkad pala siya,” Folayang said. “Syempre alam kong gusto niya kong tapusin pero naka-recover naman agad ‘yung utak natin.”