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‘Landslide’ collapses 


I think I just lost my balance.


Edson Marques picked up the biggest victory of his mixed martial arts career when he knocked out former champion Eduard Folayang in the lightweight division of the ONE Fight Night 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Branded as “Landslide” for his devastating prowess, Folayang was stunned and dejected at the decision after Oliver Coste stopped the bout after 2:53 of the second round.

In fact, the 39-year-old Folayang was starting to get into the groove when he was floored by the lankier, longer Brazilian striker with a short right hook.

Although Folayang, a former ONE lightweight champion, was quick to get back to his feet, Coste already waved his hand, signaling Marques’ victory.

“We were exchanging blows but I didn’t give up. I think I just lost my balance,” said Folayang, the prized fighter from the Cordilleras.

“And then, I immediately got up because if I really got dizzy, I would have gone blank. No. I can still recall what’s happening. The referee’s stoppage came too soon.”

Folayang and Team Lakay were so disappointed that they refused to engage in any post-fight pleasantries with Marques’ camp.

“All of us are not happy because I didn’t feel I got knocked out. I didn’t even get groggy,” Folayang added.

“Have you seen a computer getting turned off? It didn’t happen to me. I can still recall everything when the fight was stopped.”

It was Folayang’s fifth straight MMA setback after prevailing over Tsogookhuu Amarsanaa in November 2019 and a kickboxing match with retired John Wayne Parr in March.

Folayang fell to 22-13 while Marques improved to 11-2 on top of a $50,000 performance bonus from ONE Championship chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong.

Earlier, Denice Zamboanga got out of a two-bout funk when she registered a split decision victory over Lin Hequin in their atomweight clash in the opening card.

Fighting in Manila for the first time, the 25-year-old from Quezon City assaulted her Chinese foe with solid right straights that left her bloodied and beaten.

Zamboanga dominated the first two rounds, much to the delight of a capacity crowd that witnessed the first MMA bout in the country after Covid-19 pandemic.

Although the Chinese shook Zamboanga after landing a solid punch in the first round, the Filipina was able to recover and continued her attack on the feet.

Hequin made the slugfest close with a good third round, but the Filipina still emerged victorious to launch the Filipinos’ campaign on a high note.

“I just challenged myself in striking,” Zamboanga, who is ranked No. 3 in the atomweight ladder after improving her MMA record to 9-2.

“We worked on striking a lot as I moved to my brother’s gym. I want to show them that I have striking skills, too.”

She said she banked on her right hand knowing that the 29-year-old from Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province has a longer reach.

“I know she has an advantage with her range so I just kept on working on my right hand,” she said.

Undefeated ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin of Russia put the hurt on two-division ONE World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder of the Netherlands, knocking out the previously unbeaten grappling wizard in the main event to capture the organization’s light heavyweight strap.

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