The stakes just got higher for Eddie Alvarez and Eduard Folayang when they meet at ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes next month.
Eddie Alvarez is back in the ONE Championship lightweight grand prix. And potentially, he’ll be replacing the man who bounced him from the tournament. On Monday, ONE officials announced via press release that Alvarez, who is taking on former champ Eduard Folayang at ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes next month, had another crack at the tournament. That’s after Timofey Nastyukhin, who knocked out the ex-UFC and Bellator champ at A New Era in March, was forced to pull out of the event due to injury.
The nature of Nastyukhin’s injury was not disclosed. However, it opens the door for Alvarez to have another go at working his way to the title. For Folayang, a two-time lightweight champion, it’s a chance to work his way to a third title reign. Folayang lost the belt earlier this year, also at A New Era.
Because Nastyyukhin’s opponent, Lowen Tynanes, was injured, the man Tynanes beat to advance in the grand prix, Honorio Banario, was expected to return. Instead, Tynanes/Banario will be replaced by Folayang in this semi-final match-up.
Folayang (21-7) lost his title to Shinya Aoki, the man he won the belt from at the start of his first title reign in 2016. Overall, he’s 7-3 in his last 10 fights. His losses in that span came to Aoki, Nastyukhin, and Martin Nguyen.
The Underground King
Alvarez (29–7 (1)) has lost his last two fights, against Dustin Porier at UFC Calgary last year, and Nastyukhin in March. ‘The Underground King’ was one of Bellator MMA’s biggest stars for years, and will be remembered for a pair of thrilling bouts with Michael Chandler. He then jumped to the UFC, and earned the 155lb title there. However, he lost the belt in his first attempt at a title defense, against Conor McGregor at UFC 205.
ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes takes place August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. The winner of Alvarez vs. Folayang will face Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Finals. Several former UFC stars feature on the card. Those include Demetrious Johnson, Yushin Okami, and Arjan Bhullar.