Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Jujeath “Badgirl” Nagaowa will both see action at ONE FC: Rise Heroes on May 2 and these two Filipino mixed martial artists took enormous pride in seeing compatriot Manny Pacquiao recapture the WBO 147 lbs title with a unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley last weekend.
On June 9, 2012, Pacquiao absorbed his first loss in seven years after a controversial and highly debatable split decision loss to Bradley at the end of a 12 round fight which he appeared to have won comfortably.
That loss to Bradley signaled the start of a dry spell for Filipino combat sports with Pacquiao suffering a brutal KO defeat at the hands ofJuan Manuel Marquez and then reigning fighter of the year Nonito Donaire getting comprehensively outpointed by Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Filipino mixed martial artists also went 0-5 at ONE FC: Rise to Power in Manila during this period which left many fight fans disconsolate but Eduard Folayang, who was one of the five to experience defeat on that fateful night, says that Pacquiao’s recent victory has inspired him as he prepares for a May 2nd bout with Kotetsu Boku.
“I am so happy about Manny’s victory; I want to congratulate Manny, he is one of our modern day heroes and I pray we too will be able to put the Philippines in the global map in the field of MMA.”
Folayang is the most recognizable mixed martial artist in the Philippines and he has repeatedly been described as the sport’s answer to Manny Pacquiao, an influential figure who he says motivates him to succeed.
“Manny is a great influence and encouragement and that’s why his win contributes as inspiration to us Filipinos. I think it is a big motivation that gives us the pressure to prepare really well for our upcoming fight and his victory motivates me personally because I know that I can win too.”
The parallels between Pacquiao and Folayang are obvious; both are fierce warriors inside the cage or ring but softly spoken and religious men away from it and both have a reputation for putting on entertaining back and forth fights.
However Folayang comes from a background in Wushu, he has won numerous medals representing the Philippines at the sport, and has never experienced competitive boxing or tested his prowess inside the squared circle.
One fighter on the ONE FC: Rise of Heroes card who knows exactly what it takes to succeed at the ‘sweet science’ is former boxing world title challenger Jujeath Nagaowa who says she feels a special sense of pride after Pacquiao’s win.
“Manny’s win definitely makes me proud and Filipinos all over the world are very proud right now.”
After going through an unusually unsuccessful spell when fight fans all across the Philippines started to question why their compatriots were succumbing to so many losses things are looking much brighter for both Filipino boxers and mixed martial artists.
Folayang is coming off an impressive win of his own and although Nagoawa will be competing in the cage for the first time she says that Pacquiao’s win will give everyone a boost.
“It adds up to my motivation as a Pinoy fighter because our entire country was uplifted with his win.”