Folayang Defeats a Legend


Eduard Folayang pulled off possibly the greatest upset in the history of Asian MMA by defeating Shinya Aoki and winning the ONE Championship lightweight title in Singapore last November 11, 2016.

Folayang completes his journey through ONE Championship’s lightweight ranks by stopping Aoki by technical knockout within three rounds to clinch the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Aoki dominated the first round with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but Folayang came alive in the second round as he opened up his striking, showcasing his world-class wushu talent. In the third round, Folayang rocked Aoki against the cage fence and finished him off with ground-and-pound.

Here’s a rundown of the match that shows Folayang’s brilliance not only on his offense but also his defense. His defense, in this case, is the right spark that his offense needed.

Folayang often frustrated Aoki from execute his gameplan of using grappling techniques with brilliant escape maneuvers. At the same time, he mixed some brilliant strike moves that Aoki could not defend either. By the time Folayang connected enough hits to slow down Aoki, the inevitable ending just surfaces.

CHAMP AT LAST! Eduard "Landslide" Folayang became the first to defeat Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in nearly five years enroute to the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Phot courtesy of ONE Championship.
CHAMP AT LAST! Eduard “Landslide” Folayang became the first to defeat Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in nearly five years enroute to the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Phot courtesy of ONE Championship.

Round 1
4:53 – Folayang misses a right straight, Aoki quickly goes for a clench.
4:38 – Aoki registers first successful takedown and takes control from side then back mount.
2:10 – Folayang escapes, gets back to his feet.
1:54 – Aoki goes for the clench again, clearly showing he prefers to take the action to the ground.
1:40 – Aoki bodylocks Folayang and takes him down the second time.
1:12 – Folayang pushes off, gets back to his again. Aoki immediately clenches again and pins Folayang to the cage then took him down the third time in the round with a trip in the dying seconds.

Round 2
4:45 – Aoki lands a left leg kick to Foklayang’s blocking arms’, the first strike he threw for the match.
4:25 – Folayang misses with his patented round house right kick to the face followed by a spinning backfist that got the crowd going.
3:57 – Folayang connects a kick in the mid-section.
3:40 – Aoki clenches but Folayang escapes. Aoki goes for the leg, Folayang again escapes with brilliant defense and constant motion.
2:57 – Folayang misses a flying knee attack, Aoki grabs him and took him down for the fourth time in the match and mounts into an open guard position.
2:06 – Folayang creates space while pinned against the cage and gets back to his feet again.
2:01 – Aoki clenches while pinning Folayang to the cage but backfires as Folayang connect five unanswered knee strikes to the midsection forcing separation and signal the start of a tiring Aoki’s inability to defend his strikes.
1:00 – Folayang lands a kick to Aoki’s knee.
:38 – Folayang presses strike attack but fails to connect a right straight.
:32 – Folayang connects kick to the lower knee.
:22 – Folayang connects jab to Aoki’s chest and a right straight.
:15 – Folayang connects left-right combo, misses a turning kick, connect left kick to the body, and finishes the round with two hard rights to the midsection that clearly has taken their toll on Aoki.

Round 3
4:55 – Folayang connects a flying knee this time to an onrushing Aoki who is going for a takedown. Both men clenched but clearly Folayang is the stronger man this time. He overpowers Aoki and pins him to the cage in an angle where his right hand had an open path to connect short punches to the face.
4:41 – Folayang rains shorts rights that all find their target. Referee Yuji Shimada finally ends the carnage after the 30th unanswered punch, sweetened by a right knee that connected sometime between the barrage, to the covering Aoki.