There was major news this morning in Asian MMA when it was announced that ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki will defend his title against the Philippines’ Eduard “Landslide” Folayang on November 11 at ONE: Defending Honor.
Lightweight veteran Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki of Shizuoka, Japan, is a former DREAM Lightweight Champion, former Shooto Welterweight Champion, and the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion. The 33-year-old Aoki is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Yuki Nakai and has won multiple grappling tournaments across the globe. He also holds a black belt in judo.
Aoki has had 40 professional bouts and has won 25 times by submission, Aoki’s reputation as a grappling specialist is unrivaled. Aoki is currently riding a nine-fight win streak, and is set to step back inside the ONE Championship cage to defend his lightweight title against Eduard Folayang.
Speaking today, Aoki said he couldn’t wait to get back into action and test himself.
“I have been in the sport for many years and have fought the toughest challengers across the world, but this is the first time I will be fighting a strong Filipino warrior. I am excited to test my skills against a fighter representing the Philippines. Eduard Folayang is a great competitor with solid all-around skills. It should be an exciting match-up.”
If Aoki is to maintain his impressive record, he will have to do so against impressive opposition. Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the famed Team Lakay in Baguio City is one of the Philippines’ most experienced mixed martial artists. After over eight years as a professional competing in various promotions, the wushu specialist has amassed a stellar 16-5 mixed martial arts record.
Folayang figured in impressive victories in his last two bouts, overcoming both Tetsuya Yamada and Adrian Pang to win by decision, showcasing a highly-improved wrestling and grappling offensive arsenal. Currently at the peak of his abilities as a combat sports athlete, Folayang will get the opportunity of a lifetime when he steps inside the cage across ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki.
Folayang simple can’t wait to get into the cage and test himself against a man as experienced as Aoki.
“I am at the peak of my abilities as a fighter. All the hard work I have put into training has finally started to pay off and I am challenging the great champion Aoki. It will be an honor to share the cage with him, but I feel I have the skills to pull off an upset. I will fight for the honor of my country and the people of the Philippines who will be in my corner on fight night.”
Additional bouts for ONE: Defending Honor will be announced at a later date.
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.
“Essentially, I see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.
As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.
“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”
“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”
4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.
“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”
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