Edward Folayang (left) and Eddie Alvarez show their fighting stance during yesterday’s press conference at the City of Dreams.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Folayang predicts knockout in showdown with Alvarez
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Eduard Folayang takes the first step towards reclaiming the lightweight title he once owned when he clashes with a dangerous Eddie Alvarez while Danny Kingad tries to prove that he’s the next big thing in Philippine mixed martial arts when he squares off with Reece McLaren in ONE: Dawn of Heroes on Friday at the MOA Arena.

Folayang lost his lightweight crown to Japanese legend Shinay Aoki in Tokyo last March, and will need an impressive result against Alvarez, a former titlist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, to put him back in line for another title crack.

“I think it will end in a knockout,” said Folayang, who has 21 wins and seven defeats, during yesterday’s presser at the City of Dreams.

For Alvarez, who is also coming off a defeat at the hands of Timofey Nastyukhin also in Tokyo last March, he’s just getting used to being the villain.

“In the UFC, I was always the hero. Although I will play the villain here. I will still try to get the result I want, which is a win,” said Alvarez, who has compiled a 29-7 record.

Kingad, for his part, will try to steal some of the spotlight from the big guns as he goes for a sixth straight victory against McLaren, who replaced former flyweight king Kairat Akhmetov in the last minute due to injury.

The 23-year-old Team Lakay bet has been making heads turn lately after stringing together five straight wins, including an impressive unanimous decision over Japanese Senzo Ikada in ONE: New Era last May in Tokyo that hiked his mark to 10-1.

That win gained Kingad a spot in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix semis against McLaren in what could be the biggest fight of his career as it will boost his stock in the stacked division.

It will also set him up against the winner between former UFC pound-for-pound king Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada.

The winner of the Grand Prix will then face the reigning champion, Brazilian Ariano Moraes, who is the same fighter who dealt Kingad his one and only defeat – submission via rear-naked choke – two years ago.

“I will do my best to make my fellow Filipinos proud,” said Kingad.

Kingad is on the cusp of taking over from Team Lakay seniors Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon and Joshua Pacio, who all lost their ONE belts early this year that left heavyweight king Brandon Vera the lone Filipino champion standing.

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