Each week we will be looking at the goings on in the MMA world, and presenting the fighter that we feel most worthy of the coveted title of “Fighter of the week”.
This week that fighter is the rising Filipino star, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
When you read about MMA fighters you are used to seeing descriptions like “BJJ black belt” or “NCAA wrestler”, but world class Wushu expert? Before venturing into MMA Folayang was one of the best sanshou fighters in the world, having won gold medals at the last 2 South East Asian Games, as well as a bronze in the World Wushu Championships in 2005. He decided to try his hand at MMA in 2007, and has so far amassed a record of 10-1, with his latest victory at the inaugural One FC last weekend.
Wushu is actually something I know a fair bit about, having trained in kung fu for a few years as a youth and helped out at numerous wushu tournaments. Sanshou is the kickboxing-like element of competition, in which as well as striking techniques, combatants can use throws and takedowns to score points. This makes it an outstanding base for MMA, as those from a sanshou background have much more experience with the wrestling element than those from a more limited kickboxing background. Other notable former sanshou fighters include fighter/actor Cung Le and UFC heavyweight Pat Barry.
Although wushu is a relatively unknown sport here in the West, it is a massive deal in South East Asia. Due to his competitive success in wushu, Folayang was thrown in at the deep end right away, with his first ever MMA fight being for the URCC (The Philippines top promotion) welterweight title. Despite his inexperience in the sport, Folayang won in the first round by TKO. This has been the story of his career so far, as Folayang uses his superior athleticism to overwhelm his opponents, with 6 of his 10 victories coming in the first round. Although his fight on One FC went the distance, his opponent,South Korea’s A Sol Kwon, is a very dangerous veteran, having competed in DEEP, Sengoku, and K1 Heroes.
Folayang is probably the most marketable prospect in the ever developing South East Asian MMA scene, and with the UFC showing interest in expanding into the Asian market, hopefully we could see him on the big stage some time soon.
Watch his most recent fight at ONE FC below.