On March 31, two of the most popular stars from ONE FC will be facing off as Ole Laursen goes head-to-head against a URCC Champion and fellow Filipino in Eduard Folayang. The Muay Thai and Martial Combat Champion cherishes the opportunity as with Folayang's fighting style, he feels like it's an excellent match up for him.
"This is one of those fights where we are both going to get banged up. There’s no way that either me or Eduard are going to be doing much modeling afterwards," Ole Laursen said in an interview with BloodyElbow.com, "He’s going to hit me and I’m going to hit him and that’s just the way it is. I am preparing for that. It’s going to be war."
"I think it plays to my strengths too because I want an opponent who is not going to be afraid to stand in the middle of the cage and bang it out. I am confident in my ground skills but I didn’t get into MMA to submit people," said the K-1 vet, who has a submission win over a BJJ expert Eduard Pachu, "I know in my heart I can knock this guy out."
Folayang, who has represented the Philippines several times in Wushu competition, is one of the biggest stars in the country and is currently riding a 6-fight winning streak. Laursen on the other hand, headlined the last ONE FC event in Jakarta, and was looking to be on his way to a similar 6-fight streak. He dropped his opponent twice and was landing several hard shots the most part, until Felipe Enomoto turned the tables and pulled off an upset. It was a tough loss for Laursen but he thinks this crucial and high-profile match up against Folayang can help get him back on top.
"I have been in some big fights in Japan, the US, Sweden, and Denmark, so it’s difficult to compare, but this is do or die for me," Laursen exclaimed, "No-one wants to lose two in a row and Eduard Folayang is a superstar. I live in the Philippines and everyone here knows who he is. I want to beat him so I can steal some of his glory and take it back to Boracay with me."
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He's referring of course to the world famous Island and tourist spot in the Philippines, where Laursen has built a gym overlooking the beautiful beach. For the past several months, Ole has been building and developing this new branch of Legacy Gym, but he says for this camp, he has dropped all that and focused solely on defeating Folayang.
"Well I am setting up a Legacy Gym in Boracay, and that takes a lot of time. It’s a big project and the one thing have changed is that I am putting all the gym stuff aside to focus 100% on this fight," he said, "I don’t want any distractions."
Ole Laursen and Felipe Enomoto during the weigh-ins -- Photos by Anton Tabuena
Laursen will be fighting just seven weeks from his loss to Felipe Enomoto. Some people may think it's a tough task to recover from a war and set up camp right away, but Ole just sees it as a chance to immediately get back on track after suffering a disappointing setback.
"I guess I was a little surprised (to get offered a fight against Eduard), but more I was happy because it means I get a chance to make up for that loss straightaway." he said, "As a fighter you want that, but it’s not like ONE FC is giving me an easy fight. Eduard might even be the toughest fighter I have ever faced in MMA. Genki Sudo, Caol Uno and Felipe Enomoto, I’ve fought some tough fighters but I’m looking at this like it will be my hardest fight ever, and that’s how I’m training."
"I’m disappointed because I had won five fights in a row. It’s not easy putting together a run of wins like that, especially after going 0-2 in my first two fights," Laursen said as he details his thoughts on the loss to Enomoto, "I am very disappointed that the run has ended. I definitely feel like it was a fight I could have won, but ‘could have’ doesn’t mean anything in this sport."
"I’m taking nothing away from Felipe, he was the better man on the night and he beat me, I tapped." said Laursen as he talks about one of the most entertaining bouts of that night, "There are some things I think I could have done differently in that fight and in the build up to that fight but that is always going to be the way you feel when you lose."
"It’s not like ‘Ole Laursen lost that fight’, it’s more like ‘Felipe Enomoto won that fight’ so everyone should be talking about what he did right, not what I did wrong," he said. "My mistakes are mine to correct in private, not to talk about like ‘if only I had done this differently I would have won...’ That would be disrespectful,"
It's obviously a very disappointing loss for him, but Laursen says he learned a lot and he'll be moving forward from that experience.
"I don’t believe in regrets or on dwelling on the past. I was enjoying myself in there because Felipe was a warrior. He went toe-to-toe with me and didn’t try to run away or to take me down. He stood in there and took my best shots and gave as good as he got and I love to fight against guys who have the balls to do this," Laursen exclaimed, "I think Eduard is also one of those guys. He doesn’t back down and he isn’t afraid of anyone and I am prepared to go toe to toe with him for 15 minutes if I have to."
Folayang has this reputation for getting into wars, displaying massive heart, and overcoming adversity. He has showed that he's tough, exciting, and he can recover quickly, but it also means that he can get hit. Laursen knows his opponent well, and he believes he can capitalize on some of the holes in his game.
"We got no-one (in my camp) who is really like Eduard, but I have watched him fight so many times now that I know what to expect." Laursen said, "He does get hit and yeah, I am going to try and hit him really hard. That’s the gameplan, but don’t tell him okay? It’s a secret!"