Possible opponents lined up for Eduard Folayang's first title defense
MANILA, Philippines – Merely two days into Eduard Folayang’s reign as the ONE Championship lightweight kingpin, names of two possible contenders to challenge the Filipino fighter for his gold-plated strap have surfaced.
The two lightweight stalwarts who are said to be in line to share the ONE Championship cage with Folayang are Lowen Tynanes and Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton.
Tynanes is an undefeated 26-year-old Hawaiian, who has an immaculate mixed martial arts (MMA) record of 9-0 with 4 submissions wins and two knockout triumphs.
As the King of the Cage junior welterweight champion, Tynanes joined ONE Championship in 2013 and has won all of his 5 outings under the banner of the Singapore-based MMA organization.
Tynanes raised his stock in ONE Championship’s lightweight bracket with a unanimous decision victory over former division title challenger Koji Ando last April.
The 5-foot-10 unbeaten prospect is no stranger to Folayang as both men crossed paths at Universal Reality Combat Championship’s tenth anniversary event in December 2012.
The then-unknown Tynanes holds an upset victory over Folayang, stopping the renowned Filipino combatant in the first round.
One swipe of an elbow from Tynanes opened a huge cut on Folayang’s right eye as blood smeared all over his face, prompting referee Joey Lepiten to halt the contest early in the first round upon doctor’s recommendation.
Pitting Tynanes with Folayang again seems logical from a matchmaking perspective as the Filipino has a score to settle with the brawny American brute.
Meanwhile, Sexton has an MMA record of 11-3, 1 NC and has won 3 of his last 4 bouts in ONE Championship.
The 34-year-old Costa Rican has never gone the distance in his 11 professional wins, hauling 8 submission triumphs and 3 knockout victories.
Sexton is coming off a victory over Roger Huerta as he manhandled the Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran to secure a third-round stoppage this past July.
According to ONE Championship chief executive officer Victor Cui, there is nothing set in stone yet as they will let Folayang savor his crowning moment.
“[ONE Championship matchmaker] Matt Hume and I will still talk about it in the coming weeks. But for now, we want Eduard to enjoy the moment,” he told Rappler.
Folayang captured the ONE Championship lightweight belt with a third-round knockout of MMA legend Shinya Aoki in the main event of the promotion’s “Defending Honor” card on Friday, November 11.
The 32-year-old Baguio City will return home this week and is expected to make an appearance at ONE Championship’s live event in the Philippines on December 2.
“I can’t wait to get back home. I want to share this moment with my countrymen. This victory is for the entire Philippines,” Folayang said. – Rappler.com