One Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong confirmed that Eduard Folayang will stake his lightweight belt at the Mall of Asia Arena on April 21.
“He is going to defend it in his home country for the first time. I want the entire country, if you’re a Filipino or have a Pinoy heart, you’ve got to watch this fight,” he said.
Folayang took the title from Shinya Aoki last November in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the promotion, and he will defend it against an opponent to be named in the days to come.
Also, Sityodtong confided that Ben Askren will have the third defense of his welterweight championship belt in the said event, the first of two fight cards to take place at the said venue this year.
Askren is fresh from a unanimous decision triumph over Russia’s Nikolay Aleksakhin in April of last year, keeping his unblemished MMA record intact.
Askren’s challenger, according to Sityodtong, will also be revealed soon.
While the full fight card is yet to be revealed, Folayang’s Lakay teammates Geje Eustaquio and Kevin Belingon could also be pitched in.
“We’re definitely going to have some of the biggest Filipino superstars back. I hope to see the best and the brightest from the Philippines. I also hope to see Geje Eustaquio and Kevin Belingon,” he shared.
The MMA craze in the Philippines became stronger because of One, and Sityodtong now sees the Philippines as one of its key markets.
“The Philippines is a very important market for us. I truly believe that One Championship can become mainstream where every single Filipino is enthralled with what One Championship has to offer,” he stated. “The Philippines is a nation of warriors. There are still a lot of talents coming out of the Philippines. It has a very rich history of martial arts. So we will see a lot of great things.”