Eduard Folayang Upsets Shinya Aoki, Assumes One Championship Lightweight Throne

By Brian Knapp Nov 11, 2016
Almost no one saw this coming.

Eduard Folayang disposed of Shinya Aoki with third-round strikes to capture the lightweight crown in the One Championship “Defending Honor” headliner on Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Aoki (39-7) gave way to blows 41 seconds into Round 3, his nine-fight winning streak at an end.

All went according to plan for Aoki for the better part of two rounds, as he ran his challenger through a series of clinches and takedowns. However, Folayang (17-5) withstood his submission advances, and by the end of the second round had begun to turn the tide through a sustained attack on the champion’s legs and body. He sprawled out of a takedown at the start of the third, blasted Aoki with a knee to the face and pinned him at the base of the cage. Another knee to the head was followed by an unending volley of right hands that prompted referee Yuji Shimada to act.

The loss was Aoki’s first since he yielded to punches from Eddie Alvarez under the Bellator MMA banner on April 20, 2012.

In the co-main event, Marat Gafurov tightened his stranglehold on the One Championship featherweight title, as he submitted Narantungalag Jadambaa with a first-round rear-naked choke. Jadambaa (12-5) conceded defeat 4:51 into Round 1.

Gafurov (15-0) weathered heavy leg kicks and a few overhand rights on the feet and then capitalized on a brief moment of weakness, as Jadambaa slipped and wound up underneath the undefeated champion. Gafurov calmly worked to the back, set his hooks and nearly cinched the choke. Jadambaa freed himself but only prolonged the inevitable. Gafurov advanced to mount with roughly 90 seconds to go, moved to side control and returned to mount, dropping hammerfists, elbows and punches. Jadambaa surrendered his back once again, giving up the fight-ending choke in the closing seconds of the first round.

The 31-year-old Gafurov has finished his last six bouts with rear-naked chokes. Jadambaa was the victim in two of them.

In other action, Amir Khan (6-2) submitted Vaughn Donayre (8-6) with a rear-naked choke 2:22 into the third round of their lightweight match; Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Roger Huerta (23-9-1) claimed a split decision over Adrian Pang (22-10-2) in a three-round lightweight affair; Kotetsu Boku (25-11-2) was awarded a technical knockout between the first and second rounds of his featherweight encounter with Timofey Nastyukhin (10-3), as the Russian prospect was deemed unfit to continue due to a leg injury; Michelle Nicolini (3-1) submitted Mona Samir (1-3) with a modified rear-naked choke 2:16 into the first round of their women’s strawweight tilt; Tiffany Teo (4-0) submitted Walaa Abbas Mohamed Kamaly (2-4) with a rear-naked choke 4:15 into the second round of their women’s flyweight clash; Ahmed Mujtaba (7-0) took a unanimous decision from Benedict Ang (3-1) in a three-round featherweight pairing; and Nico Soe (3-1) tapped Muhamad Haidar (0-2) with an armbar 77 seconds into the first round of their flyweight confrontation.

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