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Timofey Nastyukhin hopes to get cage rematch with Eduard Folayang for the title

Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Timofey Nastyukhin stood opposite each other inside the ONE Championship cage nearly three years ago when the Russian combatant faced the Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar in his promotional debut.
Both men squared off against each other inside the jam-packed 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, serving as one of the featured attractions of ONE: WARRIOR’S WAY in December 2014.
Nastyukhin made himself known in front of a worldwide audience by knocking out Folayang in the first round with a thunderous flying knee.
Since their exciting meeting inside the ONE Championship cage, Folayang and Nastyukhin have never seen eye-to-eye. Moreover, a lot of things have changed in their respective professional MMA careers.
Nastyukhin has had mixed outcomes in his last four outings since notching a shocking upset victory over Folayang.
Meanwhile, Folayang has been undefeated since his defeat to Nastyukhin, riding high on an impressive four-fight winning streak and capturing the coveted ONE Lightweight World Championship title from Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in November 2016.
With Folayang having ONE Championship’s top prize at lightweight, Nastyukhin seeks to cross paths with the celebrated Filipino fighter once again.
“A lot of things have changed. The division had a major facelift, and it is still growing with new names joining the ranks. Aside from all of that, lightweight has a new champion in Eduard Folayang,” he stated.
“Eduard and I had a history. We fought before in ONE Championship. I hope we can meet again, but this time it’s for the title. My goal is to become a champion. Eduard has what I want. And I am coming for it,” Nastyukhin added.
Nastyukhin admitted that he is fully aware of Folayang’s recent career resurgence as the 33-year-old Baguio City native managed to reinvent himself by transitioning from a pure striker to an all-around MMA fighter.
“Eduard has improved greatly. Before, he is only a striker with heavy hands and kicks. Right now, he has a good takedown defense and has exhibited good control on the mat. He is more of a complete fighter. He is a dangerous fighter,” he said of Folayang.
The 27-year-old Russian knockout artist believes that a win in his upcoming bout will be the first step in securing a rematch with Folayang.
After spending the past nine months rehabilitating from a broken shin, Nastyukhin is finally healed and is now ready to leave that painful part of his life behind him.
Nastyukhin moves on with his prospective MMA career as he squares off with former title contender Koji Ando on the undercard of ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS in Macao, China on Saturday, 5 August.
“I believe this fight against Koji Ando will help me earn a rematch with him. I still dream of becoming a world champion in MMA. Eduard is the one holding the title. It’s a must-win for me if I want to vie for the world championship in this great organization,” he stressed.
Nastyukhin sees a much tougher encounter with Folayang if he will get the chance to have a rematch with the reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion, but the Russian standout is confident that he will have his hand raised against his Filipino rival once more.
“I believe that it will be more difficult because he has showed improvement. Eduard has now a good ground game and more intelligent. Plus, he has the championship experience. He won against Aoki. He defended the title against Ev Ting this year. But I know I can still win against him,” he asserted.
However, Nastyukhin pointed out that his focus is currently fixed on Ando, who also seeks to place himself back on the winning track.
With a win-loss slate of 12-5-2, Ando was riding on an impressive five-fight winning streak until he dropped a unanimous decision to Shinya Aoki in their lightweight title clash back in May 2015.
The 32-year-old Japanese stalwart came back with a decision win over Roger Huerta in September of the same year, but he fell to unbeaten Hawaiian standout Lowen Tynanes seven months later.
Nastyukhin stressed that is underestimating his Japanese opponent and holds great respect for Ando.
“We fought on the same card before, and I watched him in action. Ando is a solid fighter with experience. He has 12 wins, and some of them are over tough opponents, such as former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag Jadambaa. Also, he challenged Shinya Aoki for the ONE Lightweight World Title. This fight is not going to be easy. It will be a good challenge,” he said.
Nastyukhin has an illustrious history for delivering highlight-reel knockouts, and it is no secret that would like to add Ando’s name to his list of preys.
“I can win by moving faster. Ando is strong, but his punches are slow because of his body mass. If he decides to take me down, he is going to need more oxygen than me to keep fighting on the ground. I watched and analyzed his style. He has holes in his game, and I am going to exploit them,” he concluded.