By Kristel Satumbaga

Eduard Folayang is ready to write another chapter of his mixed martial arts journey on Friday when he squares off with veteran Eddie Alvarez in ONE: Dawn of the Heroes at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

300719 ONE CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESSCON 04 riodeluvio 640x403 - ONE Championship: Folayang ready for next chapter in MMA career

Eduard Folayang (left) and United States’ Eddie Alvarez (right) are introduced along with ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityotdong (center) during Tuesday’s press conference at the City of Dreams. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Fighting in the undercard, Folayang is moving on from his submission loss to Shinya Aoki last March in Japan as he concentrates on his World Grand Prix Semi-final faceoff with Alvarez.

“I lost my (lightweight championship) belt but that chapter is already closed,” said Folayang, 34, who owns a record of 21 wins and seven losses.

Folayang holds high regard to Alvarez, who has won a string of championship belts with a fight record of 29 wins and seven losses.

“He’s (Alvarez) one of the athletes that I’ve been watching before and it is an honor to be facing him because I’ll be able to test my skills,” said Folayang.

Alvarez returned the favor and said he also has “big respect” to Folayang, whom he thinks “has done great things in the Philippines’ mixed martial arts scene.”

“I rarely come as a nemesis to a country, so it’s unusual to be the bad guy here, ” said a joking Alvarez.

“In the movies, heroes always prevail, the nemesis loses and goes home. Unfortunately, that’s not the story I’m here to write (on Friday),” Alvarez said, who is coming off a loss to Timofey Nastyukhin also last March in Japan.

The Folayang-Alvarez duel will just be among the undercards of the night as it features the featherweight world championship main event between Australia’s Martin Nguyen and Japan’s Koyomi Matsushima, as well as the flyweight muay thai world championship bout between United Kingdowm’s Jonathan Haggerty and Thailand’ Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

Among the Filipino fighters also seeing action are Danny Kingad against Australia’s Reece McLaren for the world grand prix semi-final,Geje Eustaquio over Japan’s Yuya Wakamatsu for the World Grand Prix reserve bout prelim, Honorio Banario versus Korea’s Dae Sung Park in the prelim, and Edward Kelly over China’s Xie Bin also in the prelim.

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