THE quality of the match against former champion Kotetsu Boku showed the vast progress made by Eduard Folayang in ground fighting, and the Filipino mixed martial artist attributes part of that to former Olympic wrestling coach Ali Heydarabadi of Iran.
“Malaking tulong yung pagdating ni Ali kasi mas napapaintindi niya sa amin yung principle ng mga wrestlers,” Folayang said after a convincing unanimous-decision win on Friday in ONE FC: Rise of Heroes at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Nagagamit namin kung paano kami umopensa at depensa, kung ano yung iniiisip ng kalaban mo. Mas maiihahanda mo yung sarili mo.”
“Mas naging clear yung concept mo kung bakit ka natalo sa wrestling,” added the wushu expert, referring to his unanimous-decision loss to wrestler Kamal Shalorus last year.
Since then, the 30-year-old pride of Baguio has won two straight fights, including the last one against a former ONE FC lightweight champion, against whom he attempted several submission moves such as the armbar and guillotine.
Lakay coach Mark Sangiao hired Heydarabadi last June, a month after five Lakay wards suffered a shutout defeat in ONE FC: Rise to Power.
The Iranian coach spends time with Lakay for two days twice a month, but stays more than a week when their wards have scheduled fights.
“You can see the fights: one-hundred percent improvement,” Heydarabadi said. “Not only Eduard, but all Team Lakay members are in good shape in their ground game.”
Lakay teammate Rey Docyogen also impressed with his ground and pound to score a similar decision win over Josh Alvarez.
So it seems Sangiao’s investment has been paying off.
“Actually medyo mahal (ang bayad), pero worth it naman,” he smiled.