Nobody expected Eduard Folayang to beat Shinya Aoki on the night of their first meeting in 2016, but the Filipino ONE Championship veteran did just that, clocking the Japanese veteran in the third round, and winning the lightweight title.
In the years since that first fight, both fighters have enjoyed some huge wins and endured some tough losses. Their respective paths led them to a 2019 rematch, at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan. This time around, it was Shinya Aoki attempting to take the lightweight belt from Eduard Folayang.
This rematch did not last long.
Though Eduard Folayang had some success with his striking in the opening moments of the first round, Shinya Aoki quickly closed the distance, dragged the Team Lakay specialist to the mat, and locked up a triangle choke.
Eduard Folayang showed all the toughness we’ve come to expect from him, but the squeeze of Shinya Aoki was simply too much. Folayang’s arms went limp, and the ONE Championship lightweight title once again belonged to the Japanese legend.
Shinya Aoki is now on a four-fight win-streak — all of which have come by way of stoppage.
Eduard Folayang, meanwhile, will return to the drawing board with his Team Lakay stablemate Kevin Belingon.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/31/2019.