Folayang draws new rival

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Eduard Folayang and his team may have to throw their old game plan in his coming match to the thrash as the “Landslide” is assigned a new opponent by ONE Championship in the upcoming ONE: Fire and Fury to be held on January 31, 2020 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Dutchman Pieter “The Archangel” Buist, will be his new dancing partner inside the ONE ring in the co-main event. ONE Championship announced the change just last week,

Buist is tabbed to an opponent that could be worthy of challenges comparable to Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, and Martin Nguyen, to whom Folayang lost in the past.

Folayang, the former ONE lightweight world champion, was originally scheduled to face Ahmed Mujtaba.

Buist is a 31-year old fighter from the Netherlands. He has a 14-4 pro career fight record. Four of his wins came via stoppages while six came from submissions.

He was, however, submitted in all his losses.

The Dutchman is riding an impressive seven-bout win streak over the last two years, including wins in his first two bouts in ONE Championship.

In those bouts, displayed his striking prowess.

In May 2019, he made his ONE debut against Kota Shimoishi and recorded a second-round knockout due to a series of knees to the head. He was down on the scorecards early and made an incredible comeback in the bout.

He followed that up with another knee-dependent victory over Antonio “The Spartan” Caruso in October to claim a unanimous decision win.

Buist thinks Folayang does lots of things and is wary of his striking. “He throws a sidekick, and if he gives away his back, he gives you a spinning backfist behind it, so there is that”, he said in a ONE interview.

He, however, thinks he is the perfect fighter to match Folayang because “he [Folayang] tries to keep his opponents at bay because he knows his ground game isn’t his strongest thing…as I will have a bigger reach”, he said.

Buist thought that his fight with Caruso was a good tune-up for this fight and sees himself finishing Folayang in the first or second round.

Meanwhile the 36-year old Folayang admits the difficulty to prepare for a new opponent on such short notice but is convinced that the new challenge will give fans a great show.

“It is quite a curveball for our preparation,” Folayang admits in an interview with ONE.

“Since there will be a different opponent, we have to adjust everything from training to how we will attack his strengths and weaknesses. However, this is how the sport works, and this is not unprecedented at all”, he said

“[There will be a huge adjustment] mainly because of his height and reach advantage. Buist is a really tall guy, so those are factors that need to be considered. Looking at his record, he has a fair amount of TKOs and submissions, so we’re still studying what areas of his game we could take advantage of.”

Folayang is also confident he can break Buist’s run via stoppage, which should make this fight a must-see as predicted.

Meanwhile, it’s a go for the other Pinoys scheduled to see action in the event.

Joshua “The Passion” Pacio is scheduled to defend his ONE Strawweight title against Alex “Little Rock” Silva in the main event.

Pacio, fresh from a successful defense on his second reign at the division, currently possess a 15-3 record as a professional MMA fighter and  has won six 6 of his last 7 fights.

The Brazilian Silva is one of the veteran fighters of ONE at 37. He currently holds a 9-4 record and is one of the grapplers in the promotion who is tough to best.

His wrestling skills is so evident as 8 of his 9 wins came via submissions. Although he seem to lack the knockout power to floor his opponents, he wasn’t floored nor submitted either, all of his losses came via decisions.

Also appearing in the card are 2019 Southeast Asia Games gold medalist Gina Iniong, Danny Kingad, and Lito Adiwang.

Gina “Conviction”  Iniong hopes to follow up her brilliant SEA Games stint by closing the games with a gold in kickboxing during the penultimate day of the competitions. She will square off against India’s Asha Roka in the undercard.

Danny “The King” Kingad tries to put his title campign back on track as he faces China’s Xie Wei in a flyweight clash. Kingad was on a hot streak, winning six out of his last seven bouts, until he was stopped by the legendary Demetrious Johnson in the final round of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang is scheduled to test the mettle against Thailand’s Pongsiri Mitsatit.

Adiwang is on a steady rise in ONE Championship that started by participating in ONE Warrior Series, where he railed off three impressive victories to earn a six-figure contract with the promotion,

Adiwang made a rousing debut in October by an explosive victory over Senzo Ikeda via a first round stoppage and is showing promise to attaining superstardom in the strawweight division where Pacio currently reigns supreme.

Lastly, Jomary Torres will try to get her streak move back on winning side when she faces Jenny Huang