Last night was ONE FC's return to Singapore with a fight card stacked with locals, as well as fighters that are incumbent trainers at local MMA gyms. The main event of the night, was scheduled for Shinya Aoki and Eduard Folayang.
If you haven't been following the Asian MMA scene (well because UFC 205 is also on the same weekend), Shinya Aoki is a deep, very very deep BJJ black belt, who's notoriously know for his wicked and brutal submissions. Aoki also has a stacked wealth of experience against Folayang, once fighting in Pride, Shooto and Bellator.
Eduard Folayang comes in to this card definitely as the underdog and many wonder if he'd have enough in his grappling arsenal to overcome the tidal waves of submission from Aoki. Folayang has been fighting in the ONE FC tours since the very beginning, and has been known as a tough, aggressive and spectacular striker. Whenever Folayang fights, expect explosions.
Still, it didn't look well for Folayang, with Aoki on a 9-fight winning streak, added with the backdrop of his insane grappling skills.
That is until, Folayang pulls off what could be the biggest upset of year for the ONE FC tours.
The round starts and ends with what everyone expected, that Aoki would bring the game to the ground almost right from the bell, and that he did. The rest of the round showed Aoki's dominance his takedowns and submission attempts. But at every attempt, Folayang weathered the storm and brings the fight back on the feet.
Highlight of Round 1: nothing.
Notable moments: No strikes were thrown in the whole freaking round. Commentators were describing Aoki as a martial arts god.
Round 1 conclusion: As boring as it can be, and the Pinoy fans getting worried that Folayang might eventually fold.
Right off the bell, a miracle happened. Aoki threw his first strike of the fight. The crowd was mildly impressed. Folayang returned with a kick that swung like a home run, but missed. The crowd went nuts. Aoki notices the danger, and went back to Plan A. The rest of the round threatened the same boringness that persevered from Round 1, until one encounter in the clinch that had Folayang take advantage of his striking experience and gave a few good knees to the torso of Aoki. Aoki looked visibly softened, but unaffected.
Highlight of Round 2: Aoki finally threw a strike.
Notable moments: Folayang's striking looks murderous. Aoki has a weird rhythm and stance while standing up.
Round 2 conclusion: Pinoy folks saw some hope.
As soon as Aoki attempted yet another takedown, Folayang dished out a beating. The beating ensued, and was an absolute pleasure to watch. See it for yourself below.
Recommendation: Skip to Round 2 straight.