Sports

Three reasons Amir Khan v Eduard Folayang could be the highlight of the night

A new ONE Lightweight World Champion will be crowned on Friday, November 23, as Amir Khan battles Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for the vacant title at ONE: Conquest Of Champions.

The 12-bout event will feature some of the world’s best martial artists, but this co-main event showdown has the potential to be the highlight of the night.

Here are three reasons why this contest may steal the show.

Rise Of Resurgent Heroes

A year ago, Folayang lost his title to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in front of his home crowd at ONE: Legends Of The World.

However, following a six-month hiatus, the Filipino returned to the cage and decimated a pair of undefeated Russian warriors — Kharun Atlangeriev in May, and then Aziz Pahrudinov in July.

Meanwhile, Khan saw his six-bout win streak snapped by Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: Quest For Gold in February.

That only motivated the young Singaporean to get even better. He trained hard and showcased his improvement in subsequent bouts, stopping Sung Jong Lee via TKO in May, and then submitting Folayang’s teammate, Honorio Banario, in September.

Amir Khan, One Championship
Eduard Folayang defends against a kick, ready to counterPHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

Their rise from adversity have propelled them to a chance to claim the biggest prize in the weight class.

The Team Lakay VS Evolve MMA Feud Continues

Two of Asia’s best gyms will collide in the cage once again.

The last time members from the Philippines' Team Lakay and Singapore's Evolve MMA met was at ONE: Beyond The Horizon in September. Representatives from both camps faced off in a pair of matches.

Evolve’s Christian Lee started out strong in his featherweight tilt with Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly, but an illegal suplex from the Singaporean resulted in a disqualification.

Amir Khan, One Championship
Amir Khan delivers a body kick to Honorio BanarioPHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

Meanwhile, Khan, representing Evolve, snapped Banario’s five-bout win streak by submitting him via rear-naked choke in the first round of their lightweight clash.

While both camps have expressed their mutual respect for one another, these competitive warriors are fueled by this friendly competition.

To date, Team Lakay is winning the series 5-3, but this match-up represents a chance to either extend the Filipino camp’s dominance or put the Singaporean mega gym closer to their rivals.

A Battle Among Highly Decorated Athletes

Both of these combatants are highly decorated martial artists.

In a short amount of time, Khan — a Singaporean Muay Thai Champion — has emerged as one of the most exciting athletes in the lightweight division.

He currently holds the records for most wins (11) and most knockouts (8) in the ONE cage, and shares the crown for most stoppage victories (10) with Lee.

Amir Khan, One Championship
Eduard Folayang squares off with Amir Khan in the co-main event of ONE: Conquest of Champions this Friday night in ManilaPHOTO: ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

Meanwhile, Folayang is one of the most accomplished martial artists in the Philippines.

He has captured 11 major medals, including three golds in wushu at the SEA Games (2003, 2003, and 2012). Also, he is a former ONE Lightweight World Champion, of course.

On Friday, the winner will an additional honor to add to their resume.

MMA (MIXED MARTIAL ARTS)