Could Eduard Folayang Be Filipino MMA's Answer to Manny Pacquiao?

Sports WriterCorrespondent IJune 25, 2010

Filipino fighter Eduard Folayang will be headlining a major MMA show in Singapore next month. Martial Combat 5 will be broadcast by ESPN Star Sports to over 20 Asian countries, including the Philippines, and Folayang’s fight with Wang Guan will be the main event.

Wang Guan is one of the most highly regarded MMA fighters in China and a Lightweight belt will be on the line in this five round contest. The event is taking place at Resorts World Sentosa on July 14th and a crowd of in excess of 1000 people is expected.

Folyang is a veteran of eight MMA fights and is the reigning welterweight champion of the URCC, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the Philippines. He made his Martial Combat debut only a couple of weeks ago, defeating Slovakian fighter Egon Racz via submission early in the first round, but is not concerned about taking two fights in such a short space of time,

‘I concentrate on one fight at a time and I have plenty of time to recover before the fight with Wang Guan. Egon is a strong fighter and a good striker like me but I knew my endurance and power would serve me well. My strategy was to capitalize on any mistakes he made and he gave me his neck too much,’ he said.

It proved to be a fatal error for Racz as Folayang was able to wrap his arm around the aforementioned neck and secure a guillotine choke, forcing the Sovakian to either tap out or risk losing consciousness. Folayang controlled the fight from start to finish, comfortably blocking a few kicks from Racz, who is a Muay Thai champion, before taking him to the ground and sinking in the choke.

It was the latest in a long line of impressive performances from the 26 year old who is already being tipped to follow in the footsteps of Mark Munoz and Brandon Vera, the most renowned Filipino MMA practitioners at present. Both fight for the UFC, the biggest MMA promotion on the planet which is watched by millions in the Philippines and all over the world.

Unlike Munoz and Vera, who were raised in the US, Folayang is a Filipino native from Baguio who trains with the Lakay Wushu team there. He is hoping to become the first fighter to emerge from the burgeoning Filipino MMA scene to make an impression on the world stage,

‘MMA is a growing sport in the Philippines, and it spreading very fast. I hope by winning fights I can inspire other fighters back in my home country. My fights have been shown on TV in the Philippines before but never internationally and I am very grateful to ESPN Star Sports for giving me this opportunity.  I always wanted to fight for the best MMA networks and to showcase my talent as a mixed martial artist,’ he said.

Folayang was already a hugely experienced martial artist before making the transition into MMA four years ago. He first tasted success in 1999, winning gold at the Wushu amateur championships in Manila. His Wushu career took him to tournaments all across Asia and Folayang went on to win more medals in Wushu competitions in Vietnam, China, Myanmar and Qatar as well as the Philippines.

Folayang currently has an MMA record of 7-1 with the sole loss of his MMA career coming against Jon Tuck in Saipan last year. Folayang blames a lack of preparation for his disappointing performance in this fight,

‘It was a long story, we were stuck in Japan before coming to Saipan and I had only one day to rest and cut weight and then the next day I had to fight and I didn’t have enough time to recover. I learned a lot of things when I lost that fight and I will train even harder to win fights in the future,’ he said.

Since that disappointing loss Folayang has got his career back on track with two wins in quick succession, both through emphatic first round stoppages. If he can make it three wins out of three by defeating Wang Guan next month his solitary loss will seem like even more of an aberration.

The UFC recently made its first foray into Asian territory in almost a decade with a show in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and it seems a matter of when, not if, a UFC show takes place in the Philippines.

 There are a number of aspiring Filipino fighters looking to establish themselves on the international stage and there should be plenty of opportunities for them to do so. Folayang is at the forefront of the Filipino MMA explosion and another win at Martial Combat next month could well and truly propel him into the international spotlight.

Folayang’s fight with Egon Racz will be broadcast on both the ESPN and Star Sports channels in Asia in early July. Check local TV listings for details.

For more information about Martial Combat visit:

For all the latest news on MMA South East Asia visit: