Who should Eduard Folayang face next?

eduard folayang

Who’s next for Eduard Folayang? Lets take a look at some of his options.

Folayang is coming off a decision win over Ev Ting, successfully defending the title he won from Shinya Aoki last year. Now, the question is: Who does the champ fight next?

ONE Championship isn’t really known for having deep rosters, but when it comes to the lightweight division, there are plenty of contenders for Folayang to face. One of them being resurgent former ONE featherweight champ Honorio Banario. However, Banario has said that he won’t fight his Team Lakay brother, Folayang.

Nevertheless, “The Landslide” has lots of options. Here are some:

Roger Huerta
The former UFC lightweight contender doesn’t have the best record (he’s 3-11 since 2008), but he’s coming off a win over Adrian Pang, the top lightweight whom Folayang had to topple in order to get a title shot. He’s also the most high profile option for Folayang right now, and a win over Huerta would do more for him than his win over Ting did, especially in terms of global news, given how famous Huerta got in his heyday.

Kamal Shalorus
Shalorus, who’s coming off a loss to Ting, would need a win to book this bout against “Landslide,” but just one win might be enough to propel him into the title picture. That’s because the former UFC lightweight already has a victory over Folayang, whom he beat via decision in 2013. Folayang’s grappling has improved since their last meeting, and he may want to show the Iranian who the more well rounded fighter really is.

Marat Gafurov
If featherweight champ Gafurov and lightweight champ Eduard Folayang choose to throw down, then the night will end with either one of them becoming the first concurrent ONE Championship title-holder in promotion history. However, for Folayang to vie for Gafurov’s belt, then he’d have to make the featherweight limit, something he’s never done before. The idea of these two fighting is interesting, but it’ll likely only happen at a catchweight (supposedly with no belts on the line) or at lightweight, where only Folayang’s belt is up for grabs.

Timofey Nastyukhin
There are many lightweights that Folayang can settle a score with, and Nastyukhin could be the first man on Folayang’s revenge list. Nastyukhin provided the Filipino with arguably the most devastating KO loss of his career. Their exciting striking styles are sure to bring fireworks, and Folayang will have the chance to rectify his highlight reel knockout loss to the Russian.

Lower Tynanes
This is another man who has beaten Folayang (back in 2012 under the URCC banner). The Hawaiian took Folayang down and bloodied him to the point that the referee called the fight via doctor’s stoppage. Lowen is 9-0, unbeaten in his pro career, but hasn’t fought in over a year. His comeback would be interesting to watch, and it could set him up for a rematch with the current champion.

Ariel Sexton
He hasn’t fought in a while (since July 2016), but Sexton is riding a three-fight win streak over the likes of Roger Huerta and Eddie Ng. No doubt deserving of title hype, Sexton isn’t necessarily a huge draw in ONE, especially with its most active markets, Malaysia and the Philippines. That may be a factor if he gets a title shot or not.

Ole Laursen
Call me crazy since Laursen is no longer with ONE, and both have had less than a stellar relationship, but this is no doubt an exciting rematch to make. Their first bout was very competitive and both men can mix it up standing or grappling, but have a penchant for throwing heavy combos. Ole disrupted the inevitable rise of Folayang early on, maybe it’s time for “Landslide” to make things even with the Filipino-Danish fighter.

Who should Folayang fight next? Let us know in the comments section below!

Photos vis ONE Championship

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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