Eduard “Landslide” Folayang took another step forward on his journey to reclaim the ONE Lightweight World Title at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS.
On Friday, July 27, the Filipino hero claimed a unanimous decision victory over undefeated Aziz Pahrudinov in front of an electric crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, the Philippines.
Folayang began by looking to cut his opponent down with outside leg kicks, forcing Pahrudinov to try and take the match to the ground with a single-leg takedown.
The Team Lakay standout managed to keep his balance, and battled hard to stay on his feet, but was ultimately taken to the canvas with a leg trip.
However, the 29-year-old Russian couldn’t capitalise on his position, as Folayang displayed excellent defence from his back. As the signal for the last 10 seconds sounded, Pahrudinov, now standing, turned up his striking and closed the round with consecutive leg kicks on his downed opponent.
The Team Lakay standout continued to focus on his opponent’s leg to start the second stanza, and kept clear of the Sambo World Champion’s takedown attempts.
“Landslide” switched things up to land powerful right hands, and then countered a Pahrudinov strike with a slam, which provoked a huge ovation from the crowd.
However, the 34-year-old could not initiate any offence on the ground, forcing the referee to bring the athletes back to their feet, where Folayang continued to dominate.
In the final frame, the Dagestani grappler immediately went for a single-leg takedown, and tried to initiate further offence by taking his opponent’s back, but Folayang broke out of the hold and resumed his attack on his adversary’s leg.
Pahrudinov eventually took Folayang down again, but he defended well to nullify the attacks in his guard for the second time. In the final seconds of the match, both men stood toe-to-toe, but the bout went the distance and had to be decided by the judges.
All three officials awarded the match to Folayang, giving him his second unanimous decision in a row against a tough, undefeated Russian opponent.
He improves his record to 20-6, and more importantly, keeps up with the other lightweight contenders in his quest for another World Title challenge.