Promoted to the front page from the FanPosts by Luke Thomas. Folks, this is one of the most interesting and helpful FanPosts that's ever been written on this website. A major tip of the hat.
The UFC is going global. They've already had some success promoting shows in Canada, England, and in a few weeks, Germany. They have already laid the groundwork for having UFC events in other countries such as Italy, Australia, Sweden, Japan, and the Philippines. Naturally, to make events like that successful they've got to get the locals' attention by having a steady diet of established UFC stars and the country's top fighters.
With expansion, comes the search for the country's next big thing. On this edition of International Fighter Feature, we focus on the Philippines' own, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang.
Eduard Folayang is a Filipino fighter currently training out of Team Lakay Wushu, based in the mountain province of Baguio, Philippines. Sherdog has his un-updated record at 2-0 but actually his record is at 4-0. He is the welterweight champion of the country's first and biggest promotion, the URCC.
Sure, there are other fighters with much better records and more experience, but what makes Eduard special?
His fighting style: our very own Luke Thomas spoke about a new breed of fighters that could branch away from the normal Muay Thai/Wrestling/BJJ combo and instead have a traditional martial arts base. Eduard Folayang is a very intriguing fighter because he could very well be a perfect example of this.
Folayang is one of the best and highly decorated Wushu fighters in the world. He has won several international Wushu tournaments, including gold medals in the last two South East Asian Games, a silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, and bronze medals in both the 2005 World Wushu Championship and the 2002 Busan Asian Games.
Wushu is composed of two disciplines, Taolu and Sanda. Taolu is more of a demonstration that is focused on different patterns and maneuvers, while Sanda, sometimes called SanShou is focused on the fighting aspect. Their style is based on the traditional boxing, wrestling and grappling techniques which makes it a good base for MMA.
The most famous fighter with a SanShou background? Cung Le.
Like Cung, Eduard Folayang has a fighting style that is heavily predicated on unorthodox strikes and kicks, coupled with good takedowns and takedown defense.
Folayang, a natural lightweight, first gained the attention of Filipino fight fans when he defeated Allan Co to win the promotion's welterweight championship. He then went up another weight class to challenge URCC Middleweight Champion, Caloy Baduria in a high profile "Super Fight". If you watch the fight, you'd see him do a few unorthodox kicks, and then he takes the bigger man down and pounds him out.
His last fight was on March 28, in Saipan. This was Eduard's first MMA fight outside of the country. He fought Jerome Narita at the Gorilla Warfare MMA and defeated him in 52 seconds by strikes.
He has power and speed on those very unorthodox strikes which makes it very tough for any opponent to prepare for.
Folayang only has a few MMA fights so naturally there will be a lot of unknowns. His cardio hasn't been tested yet, but Folayang lives and trains in high altitude, so I doubt we'd see problems there. His ground game is the one with the most question marks, but he has shown potential and the willingness to go to the ground. Add in even better submission defense to his SanShou wrestling base, and we'd surely see a very dangerous fighter.
So what is next for Eduard "Landslide" Folayang?
When the UFC started planning to hold an event in the Philippines, there were several rumors that they were in talks to sign Folayang to compete in the UFC's lightweight division. A few months and a few UFC losses from Filipino fighters later, the talks of the event being held in the country on 2009 mellowed down a bit, along with the talks of him being signed. After his last win in Saipan, naturally a few chatter on his UFC hopes rose up again, but nothing was really set.
The UFC already has a few Filipino fighters on their roster such as, Brandon Vera, Phillipe Nover, Mark Munoz, and Justin Buchholz, but they are still looking for the country's next big star. It could still be Vera, or any one of those I mentioned, but I also think you could throw Folayang's name in the hat. If signed, he would be the first fighter born and bred in the country to compete in the sport's biggest promotion. With the credentials and the talent he has, coupled with his unique and exciting fighting style, Eduard Folayang truly has the potential to be the next big thing.
His next fight is scheduled to be on July 18, in Manila. It will be against Giovanni Sablan, the 155 lb. Champion of Saipan. And with a record of 15-4, Giovanni will be the more experienced fighter... In MMA at least.
Update via Nick Thomas: Check out Eduard Folayang and Team Lakay's video highlights here.