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Nguyen KOs Folayang, becomes first ever two-division champ in ONE history

Martin Nguyen with his two new belts—Lightweight and Featherweight | MOA Arena Photo

MANILA, Philippines —  The cheers steadily filled the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night, until Eduard Folayang got knocked out.

Readying his famed spinning back fist for challenger Martin Nguyen, the Team Lakay skipper left his mug open to the featherweight kingpin’s equally famed right hand. 

The tough-as-nails face of Philippine mixed martial arts then fell flat on his back, briefly unconscious, and then yielded his lightweight strap — all in a blurry sequence in the second round.

Folayang didn’t look as vulnerable when the opening bell rang. For five minutes, he looked in control. For five minutes, he looked like he was going to connect one of his strikes. 

Nguyen tried to bring the fight to the ground, but the Filipino striker brushed the takedown attempts off with ease. 

Until that swift moment. In a blink of an eye, Folayang was out. In a blink of an eye, history was made. 
 

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“The main objective was to take a (knockout) or a submission,”  Nguyen, who has become both the lightweight kingpin while reigning as the featherweight champion at the same time.

“Man… he showed true relentlessness,” he noted. “Man, I still love you as a brother.  I know you’ll come back from this strong. I love you, man.”

True to his words, Nguyen also flashed what he has been projecting as bottomless respect for Folayang. He immediately checked on his foe after realizing the Filipino laid flat on the canvas.


Nguyen during the post-fight presser | Philstar.com

"Look honestly, I'm really hurt. I never, ever want someone I like get hurt like that," Nguyen bared.

Nguyen’s right hand was just as notorious as Folayang fist. His newly acquired featherweight belt came after landing an overhand right counter to Marat Gafurov’s jab in a title showdown last August.

“Martin really timed that shot all right,” said ONE chairman Chatri Sidyotdong. “Just like all champions who go down, he will get back to his feet.”

“When you have KO power with precision, it’s dynamite,” the promotion’s top honcho added. “I actually had Eduard as a favorite.”

Folayang’s loss puts an end to a four-fight winning streak and came in a night where three Team Lakay wards emerged victorious. Danny Kingad, who was sharing the co-main event spotlight was the first to fall after submitting to Adriano Moraes in a their Flyweight championship showdown.

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