Whether or not Eduard Folayang’s recent training camp in the US served him in good stead will be known on May 31 when he takes on Kamal Shalorus in ONE Fighting Championship: Rise to Power at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off his second loss in three fights last December, Folayang, one of the country’s top mixed martial artists, went the extra mile this time by going to the US in the last two months to prepare for his lightweight bout against his Iranian opponent, an Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran who is bringing his act to ONE FC for the first time.
Known for his striking, the 28-year-old Baguio native and former Asian Games wushu silver medalist worked on his ground game in Drysdale Gym in Las Vegas in his bid to regain lost glory.
“Naging magandang eye-opener yun para makita ko pa yung ibang antas ng manlalaro sa sport na ito. Kasi dun sa gym, iba’t-ibang fighters nag-training,” said Folayang, who was able to train with UFC fighters Dan Hardy, Martin Kampmann, and Vinny Magalhaes, as well as some others from Strikeforce and Bellator. “Makikita mo yung level ng paglalaro nila. Mataas yung level.”
“Naging maganda naman yung training dun. More sa ground game. Yun naman yung kailangan idagdag dun sa kaalaman ko,” added the 5-foot-9 Folayang, who sports a 12-3 win-loss record.
Folayang also linked up with compatriot and UFC middleweight contender Mark Muñoz in California, although for just a short while.
“Maganda rin kahit papaano, kahit short time yung training. Very accommodating naman si Mark Muñoz. Mararamdaman mo talaga na Filipino heart yung pag-eentertain niya at pagtuturo. May na-incoporate rin akong wrestling moves na tinuro niya.”
The education graduate out of University of the Cordilleras said he paid for his own trip.
“Worth it talaga, although talagang magastos kasi nasa States ka at dollar yung pinag-uusapan. Pero dun ko na-realize na marami pa akong kailangang pag-aralan at matutunan dito sa sport na ‘to.”