MANILA, Philippines — Filipino martial arts icon Eduard Folayang is not leaving anything to chance when he locks horns with fellow MMA veteran Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan in ONE on TNT IV this coming April 29.
With his career on the line, Folayang (22-10) will be out to make sure to prove his naysayers wrong.
But Akiyama (15-7, 2 NC) will not be easily shaken, so the two-time ONE lightweight champion is bracing for anything that may come his way.
"As much as possible talaga, you prepare for the worst thing to come kaya kailangan i-push mo talaga yung sarili mo. I learned my lesson sa mga past fights ko, especially dun sa recent lang," Folayang said during Team Lakay's virtual media day on Tuesday.
"I don't want to do that again," he said.
Folayang, 36, dropped his last bout in a tough unanimous decision loss to Tony Caruso at ONE: Inside the Matrix last October.
Having struggled with his recent bouts and only ekeing out one win since losing his lightweight belt to Shinya Aoki in March 2019, Folayang is seeking redemption and to show that he still has what it takes to compete — something that he himself believes firmly.
"Hindi mo maiiwasan na maraming magsasabi na 'Ah matanda na kasi kaya di naging maganda yung performance'. Darating yung mga ganun," said Folayang.
"Pero what's important for me is that I know mas kilala ko yung sarili ko more than dun sa sasabihin ng ibang tao, mas kilala ko kung ano yung meron pa ako. For me, I still have the passion to do the sport that I love," he added.
Against the 45-year-old Akiyama, a two-time Asian Games judo gold medalist, and a K-1 Hero Light Heavyweight Grand Prix World Champion, Folayang will surely have a run for his money.
The bout between the two MMA veterans is an undercard in an event still set to be finalized by ONE Championship.
In the main card, two-division champion Aung La N Sang will stake his light eavyweight belt against Russian fighter Vitaly Bigdash.
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