Folayang confident ahead of Aoki trilogy

Published April 21, 2021, 5:00 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Shinya Aoki (left) dodges a high kick from Eduard Folayang in this file photo. (ONE Championship)

Team Lakay veteran Eduard Folayang has expressed full confidence ahead of his much-awaited trilogy against Japanese star Shinya Aoki in ONE on TNT IV at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on April 28.

Just like in previous interviews, Folayang, 36, reiterated that he is “ready to go to war” against his rival Aoki, 37, in the hopes of defying age once more and settling their unfinished business.

READ: Folayang-Aoki trilogy will set the record straight, says Sangiao

“Shinya is nicknamed the grandmaster of the flying submissions. The title itself invokes fear into any opponent. He’s a legend. But I like to think that with my time in this sport, fans know who I am and know what I bring to the table,” said Folayang, who holds a 22-10 record.

“Nevertheless, I’m going to be well-prepared for the test he presents. I’m a striker through and through, but I will make the necessary adjustments for this fight. I am confident I will get my hands raised at the end.”

Folayang is also on a mission to end his slump in the Circle, dropping four of his last five fights since March 2019, which was his first rematch with the Japanese grappling legend.

Aoki, on the other hand, is riding on a three-match win streak capped off with a submission victory over James Nakashima last January 22.

READ: Akiyama pulls out of fight vs. Folayang due to injuries

Folayang and Aoki first met in the Circle with the former scoring a third-round knockout victory to capture the lightweight title first.

After losing the belt to Martin Nguyen in 2017, the Team Lakay stalwart racked up three wins to retake the vacant seat against Amir Khan a year later.

Aoki (46-9), however, evened their record after exacting revenge with a first-round arm-triangle choke on the Igorot warrior.

“There is no doubt in my mind. I want to show fans a strong, rejuvenated Eduard Folayang. I want to show them my best. I have faith in God, and I fight for my family, my teammates, and my countrymen. This is the most important fight of my career so far, and I will do everything I can to come out on top,” said Folayang.