Eddie Alvarez Intends To Finish The ‘Incredibly Tough’ Eduard Folayang
Having signed with ONE Championship at the end of 2018, Eddie Alvarez made his ONE debut on the stacked ONE: A New Era card, in Tokyo on March 31st. Unfortunately for Alvarez, his debut didn’t go to plan. In the first round of their ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal, Timofey Nastyukhin stopped him at the end of the first round.
ONE fans were fully aware of how dangerous Nastyukhin would be in Tokyo. But for UFC fans tuning into a ONE event for the first time, the result was a huge shock.
As much as we knew how tough of an opponent Nastyukhin would be, Alvarez was still the big favourite going into their GP quarterfinal. The result left the former UFC and Bellator champion extremely disappointed. But as Alvarez told BJPenn.com Radio, losing debuts is nothing new to him.
“Look, I got the first one out of the way. I lost, no problem. I did the same thing in the UFC [against Donald Cerrone] and I honestly almost did the same thing in my debut in Bellator. I got dropped terribly. My debut in Bellator against an Irish kid (Greg Loughran) that no one knew. I got caught pretty clean. I bounced back and got the win, but I’m not a big fan of my debuts, put it that way. So I got it out of the way, got it past me, and now I can go full on, go undefeated straight to the belt
“I go out there and I’ve given my all every time, but I think at every once in a while it’s good to take a loss and put the fire back in your belly, and I think it’s a good time to have that. Sometimes you need that fire to burn long enough to get to that World Title.”
If you think that Alvarez would want an easier fight, following the loss to Nastyukhin, think again. At ONE: Dawn Of Heroes, ‘The Underground King’ will face Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang. To make matters even tougher for the 35 year old, he will face the Filipino former ONE lightweight champion in his home country of the Philippines.
“He’s incredibly tough, incredibly durable. I understand the power of Wushu, because [some of] the guys I train with, Zabit [Magomedsharipov] and a lot of the Russians that come over to spar with us in [New] Jersey, they’re all from a Wushu background.
“So the art is for real, it applies very well to MMA. And I’m looking forward to the toughest Eduard Folayang.
“It’s in his hometown. So I’m looking forward to a tough opponent and I’m viewing the fight as one that I absolutely have to finish. I am not coming in for a decision. I expect to lose if it goes to decision. So I have every intention to finish.”
On paper this fight is a real fan favourite and Alvarez is as excited as the fans for it.
“I’m excited. This match-up in particular, I feel like this guy’s such a hard-nosed, tough fighter. This could be a Fight of the Year. Just my attitude and my mentality going into the fight, I like to feel that my back’s against the wall. I do really well there. I don’t like to feel respected. I like when people think a certain way, whether it’s negatively or whatever, and then I get an opportunity to shock them all.
“This is going to be the ultimate one, the Thrilla in Manila. Going to the Philippines, fighting the Filipino king in Eduard Folayang and taking another head, taking another skull.
“I never want an easy fight. My only desire is for the ONE Championship title. And this guy’s held it not once, but twice already.”
ONE: Dawn Of Heroes goes down on August 2nd, at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Who do you think will walk away with the ‘W’, Eddie or Eduard?