Mixed Martial Arts

After Eduard Folayang, ex-UFC fighter Zhang Lipeng wants to fight Shinya Aoki in ONE Championship

Zhang Lipeng (©UFC)
Zhang Lipeng (©UFC)

“The Warrior” Zhang Lipeng, 31, of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China is set to make his ONE Championship debut. He and Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 37, of Baguio City, Philippines will headline “ONE: Battleground 2.”

ONE Championship will hold “ONE: Battleground 2” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on August 13, 2021. In the main event of the evening, Zhang and Folayang will battle it out in the lightweight division.

In case Zhang wins, he wants to fight Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 38, of Shizuoka, Japan next. Both Folayang and Aoki are a former ONE Lightweight World Champion.

“I have actually been a fan of his for a long time and I have been watching him fight for a very long time in ONE Championship,” Zhang said of Aoki. “It’s my honor and my dream to fight with him one day in ONE Championship.”

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Training out of Team Lakay in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines, Folayang has been competing professionally since 2007 and joined ONE Championship in 2011. He holds a professional MMA record of 22 wins and 11 loses.

On the other hand, Zhang has 30 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw. Competing professionally since 2009, the Chinese mixed martial artist fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship from 2014 to 2015.

“I’m very happy to join ONE Championship,” Zhang said. “I always (thought) that ONE is the best promotion in the combat sports world. If I want to try to prove that I am the best in China, the best in my division, I have to join a promotion as high level as ONE Championship and compete with all the highest level fighters.”

After leaving the UFC, Zhang joined Kunlun Fight. In his most recent fight, which was at “Kunlun Fight 83” on September 14, 2019, he submitted Mohammad Naeemi of Iran.

According to Zhang, the hiatus does not affect me that much. He explained, “I haven’t stopped training for a day over the last two years so I don’t think my conditioning or my fighting skills have lost anything.”

Zhang said he felt very happy and very honored when he first heard that he would face Folayang. The Chinese MMA said he is fully prepare for his Filipino opponent, who is a veteran in this game.

“I know he’s a tough guy with a tough style,” Zhang said of Folayang. “He has a Sanda background and I’m fully prepared for this guy. I’ve been watching him fight for a long time.”

“I have to say this without any disrespect, I think I’m better at grappling, striking game, BJJ, everywhere,” Zhang continued. “I think I’m a more technical fighter than him.”

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