And the trilogy is over.
Japanese legend and former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki has settled his rivalry with Eduard Folayang after submitting the Team Lakay veteran in the first round of the ONE on TNT IV at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Thursday.
Aoki was quick on his feet to pin down Folayang from the initial parts of the fight, dominating on top position while finding ways to create dangerous openings on the canvas.
It took two elbow strikes on the ground, with less than a minute remaining, for Aoki to catch Folayang off guard which paved the way for a swift transition to a tight armbar as referee Muhammad Sulaiman halted the match at the 4:20 mark.
Aoki, riding on a four-match win streak, improved to a 47-9-0 record with one no contest ruling while Folayang fell to 22-11 card and has lost five of his last six fights since March 2019, which was his first rematch with the seasoned Japanese grappler.
“I prepared for the takedown but he got me and that’s huge. Congratulations to Shinya,” said Folayang post-match. “Just like a snake, he’s really very tight and he’s very calm [on] the ground.”
Filipino-American Jackie Buntan, meanwhile, showed who’s boss at striking after dominating Ekaterina Vandaryeva of Belarus to capture her second win in the Circle with a majority decision victory.
The third round proved to be instrumental for the Boxing Works product, landing several combinations on Vandaryeva which most likely hauled the most points for the Fil-Am fighter.
In the final seconds, the two clashed heavily in the center cage and exhausted all of their strikings but it was Buntan who still gained the upper hand with a solid right hook.
After finding the proper pace and right distance in the first round, Buntan knows no height disadvantage as she unloaded one solid right to counter Vadaryeva’s leg kicks.
The 23-year-old Buntan climbed to a 22-5 record and heightened her chances in getting a crack at the vacant ONE women’s strawweight muay thai belt.
In the main card, middleweight champion Reinier De Ridder defeated Aung La N Sang to capture the light heavyweight belt via unanimous decision while South Korean Ok Rae Yoon also scored a unanimous decision win over Eddie Alvarez.