Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao feels optimistic that Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will successfully defend the ONE Lightweight World Title against Shinya Aoki at ONE: A NEW ERA, which emanates from the iconic Ryogoko Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
Sangiao is confident his star pupil will defeat the Japanese grappling wizard in the main event of the most stacked card in ONE Championship history this Sunday, 31 March.
Folayang may have experienced some bad losses in the past, but he has never been submitted in his 12-year career.
“Almost all of Aoki’s fights end in the first round. If he doesn’t finish you in the first round, most times he loses. That’s what we see in him,” Sangiao explains.
“I know we prepared for them. We haven’t seen Eduard tap out due to submission, so I think we’ll have a good chance [to win].”
The 39-year-old mentor says Folayang has improved since his win over the Japanese icon in their initial encounter back in November 2016.
While he acknowledges that Aoki’s grappling may have also improved in the past two and a half years, Sangiao doesn’t believe it will give his World Champion too many problems.
“Our athletes are always willing to learn,” the Team Lakay head coach says.
“From time to time, there’s always something new. For Aoki, I think if you reach that kind of level in grappling, there isn’t much to learn.”
As far as the stand-up game is concerned, Sangiao is confident Folayang will enjoy a sizable advantage in that area — regardless if Aoki has improved in the striking department or not.
“He might have improved, but in such a short amount of time, I don’t think it will be enough,” Sangiao continues. “For this match, it isn’t going to the final bell.”
Regardless of the result, Sangiao says it is an honor just to be included in this historic event.
There will be 15 bouts on the stacked card, which also features Kevin Belingon’s ONE Bantamweight World Title defense and Danny Kingad’s foray into the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The prestige of this occasion has further motivated Team Lakay, and the Filipino coach promises that fans will see the best version of the trio yet on Sunday night.
“Let’s expect some good matches here,” Sangiao explains.
“The feeling is different, especially in an event this big. There’s a different kind of aura in this event, and when it comes to the fights on Sunday, the boys are ready.
“They’re well prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually. The conditioning is top-notch. Our routine is pretty much the same, but we just added some things specifically for their opponents, especially for Eduard and Kevin.”