ONE Championship VP Franklin warns Aoki of Folayang's striking
MANILA, Philippines – ONE Championship vice president Rich Franklin sees Shinya Aoki in danger if he decides to go toe-to-toe with Eduard Folayang.
Both men are set to square off in the main event of ONE Championship's "Defending Honor" card, which takes place at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on November 11.
In a recent interview with Rappler, the 33-year-old Japanese stressed he is not worried about dealing with his Filipino opponent's heavily-regarded striking background.
"I have been in the cage with many good fighters and train with world champions, both on the ground and standing up. So I feel comfortable with all aspects of MMA," Aoki said.
Franklin, who was once a highly-decorated mixed martial arts competitor and a world champion in the sport, issued a stern warning to Aoki about Folayang's leverage in the on-feet exchanges.
"I don't think Shinya has the ability to deal with Folayang's Wushu and spinning strikes, which are ranging from spinning kicks to backfists. Those things pose a threat to Shinya," Franklin told Rappler.
Following the ups and downs that Folayang went through in his illustrious 9-year prizefighting career, he managed to reinvent himself by transitioning from a pure striker to an all-around MMA fighter.
As seen in his last two ONE Championship outings, Folayang displayed on-point sprawls and his ability to sinuously execute sweeps and guards, as well as his sturdy top control on the mat.
Although Folayang fine-tuned his grappling arsenal, Franklin pointed out that it is still not a good idea for the 32-year-old Baguio City native to try his luck in Aoki's submission wheelhouse. (READ: How Eduard Folayang can beat ONE FC champ Shinya Aoki)
Known by his moniker "Tobikan Judan" or "The Grandmaster of Flying Submissions" due to his spectacular submission wins, Aoki has an unusual fighting style as he is heavily reliant on his specialization in the grappling department.
Meanwhile, Aoki's stand-up attack is entirely dedicated to taking his cage counterpart to the ground, using chain combinations of various Judo and wrestling techniques.
"Eduard has [now] a very competent ground game, but we're talking about Shinya Aoki. It would be in his best interest to keep the fight standing. It's one of those fights whether or not he can keep the fight standing," Franklin explained.
Franklin leaves a small opening for Folayang to win by submission, but he maintained that the Filipino should fully utilize his striking against Aoki.
"Could Folayang beat Shinya on the ground? It's a possibility. But it's a much more difficult path to winning the fight if he chooses that direction," the ONE Championship VP said. "He should choose the path with less resistance and keep the fight standing." – Rappler.com