Eduard Folayang said he was determined to stay away from Shinya Aoki in the first round of the lightweight championship match at ONE Championship: Defending Honor in Singapore on Saturday.
The Japanese Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) legend, who had not lost since 2012, suffered his first defeat at the Singapore Indoor Stadium when the Filipino fighter stopped his eight-fight winning streak by a technical knockout.
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 wushu talent. In the third round, Folayang rocked Aoki against the cage fence and finished him off with ground-and-pound.
The Filipino fighter, who now has a 17-5 MMA record, went in with a solid plan against the Japanese fighter, who is known for his grappling skills. The newly-crowned ONE lightweight champion revealed that he wanted to remain focussed despite being outclassed in the first round.
"In the first round, I just needed to escape this [his moves] and get to the second round, and maintain my calmness. "Third round, I managed to land a knee and, after that, I got onto the ground [for the finish]," Folayang said, as quoted by The New Paper.
Also, it was mixed day for the local Singapore fighters at the Defending Honor as Amir Khan and ONE Championship debutant Tiffany Teo clinched wins but Benedict Ang lost his battle.
Khan overcame a spirited effort from former Pan Asia BJJ Champion Vaughn Donayre of the Philippines, while his Evolve teammate Ang experienced the first loss of his career as he lost the battle against Pakistani mixed martial artist Ahmed Mujtaba.
"I couldn't finish it with a win, and I should have put more pressure on him. But I'll take the loss like a man," Ang said, as quoted by The Straits Times.
Teo, on her 27th birthday, made full use of the home support to beat Egypt's Walaa Abbas. She was a class apart with her grappling skills in the first round .
In the second round, Teo took Abbas' back once more and converted on a rear naked choke, forcing her Egyptian opponent to tap out. The elated Singaporean fighter thanked the crowd for cheering her though the clash.
"It was so cool that so many Singaporeans were cheering for me. This fight is going to be hard to forget, because it's my birthday too."