Former ONE Championship Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang marked his return to the cage with a clear unanimous decision victory over Kharun Atlangeriev.
It was the first time the Filipino hero had competed since relinquishing his ONE Lightweight World Title to Martin Nguyen last November.
In order to get back into contention for the belt, he had to hand the Russian his first defeat.
However, it was a huge step up in competition for the Dagestani sambo champion at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS in Singapore on 18 May, and it showed on the night as he struggled to contain the ferocious Team Lakay man.
Folayang controlled the bout in every way en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
With both athletes cautious of the threat their opponent posed, it was a tentative start to the first round.
Powerful kicks from “Landslide” punctuated their movements around the cage, as both men feinted and looked for options.
A hard side kick to the head from Folayang really set the ball rolling, and from there the Filipino largely controlled the exchanges that followed – including some grappling.
The template for the former champion became even more clear in round two, as he threw hard, straight punches at Atlangeriev’s head, and stuffed every attempted takedown.
When he chose to stay on top, he landed solid ground and pound, and when he chose to step back, it was all about his powerful kicking game.
As Folayang grew increasingly confident, more of his repertoire came to the fore, and his trademark spinning back kicks started to land on Atlangeriev’s mid-section in round three.
The previously-unbeaten Russian was never in control of the striking exchanges and had every takedown attempt nullified, as “Landslide” cruised to a composed victory.
The judges rendered a one-sided decision in the favour of Folayang, who is now back on the winning trail, eager to bring the ONE World Lightweight Championship back to the Philippines.
Atlangeriev’s first defeat sees his mixed martial arts record fall to 11-1.