Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Eduard Folayang: Battle scars and the road to redemption

This appears in the Monday, May 13, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.

Eduard Folayang: Battle scars and the road to redemption
by rick olivares

When you see Eduard Folayang up close you will notice two things. One, he’s bulked up. Second, just above his right eye is a scar that will forever serve as a reminder of a painful loss.

Cut to December 1, 2012 at the Mall of Asia Arena for Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC): Dekada. Folayang was up against relative unknown Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes. Folayang never got to do anything as he was taken down twice where Tynanes’s wrestling skills wore him out. Not even the exhortations of a pro-Folayang crowd could give him an adrenaline injection. He was pinned helplessly to the ground by a much stronger opponent. In an almost defenseless position, the URCC welterweight champion got brutalized by a series of punches including one nasty elbow that opened him up like a spigot.

The fight was stopped when the ringside doctor and the match awarded to Tynanes that dropped Folayang’s record to 12-3.

In the midst of the onslaught, Folayang knew he was getting beat. He had one thought, “Talunin niya ako wag lang puso ko.”

In Mixed Martial Arts or its cousin in boxing, some times, one loss can derail a career. “Ang importante ay buo pa rin dapat ang loob ko. Hindi ka dapat napapaligiran ng mga negative. Marami naman nagbigay ng encouragement sa akin after Dekada,” offered Folayang.

It will be one day short of six months since Folayang lost and ironically he’ll be taking the One Fighting Championship cage at the Mall of Asia Arena. He’s had six months to stew about his previous match, put it in the back of his mind, and prepare for One FC: Rise to Power that is expected to be a sell out.


Folayang nods at the one of his personal goals for the fight. This is where he will see how good he really is as a fighter. Can he bounce back and even become an even better fighter?

He did before after a loss to Muay Thai kickboxer Ole Laursen in his One FC debut in War of the Lions in March of 2012.The Filipino lost in a split decision. He did make a remarkable comeback in One FC: Pride of a Nation in August of that same year where he won in a unanimous decision against Japanese Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter Felipe Enomoto.

Now he knows he not only has to get a win but to go on a roll once more. “Mixed Martial Arts is on the rise pero kailangan pa ng tulak,” he notes.

Once more, he’ll be up against another wrestler, Iranian Kamal Shalorus (12-3-2) who is a Universal Fighting Championship (UFC) vet. As good as he was in the World Extreme Cagefighting organization before its eventual merger with UFC, Shalorus found the senior circuit more difficult to hurdle. He lost all three of his UFC matches and was subsequently dropped.

It isn’t only the wrestling skills of Shalorus that Folayang has to worry about. Early in his career, the Iranian (who carries a British passport but now lives in the United States), displayed remarkable striking skills as well as impressive takedown offense and defense. Folayang’s at his best when it’s a stand up fight, but as the lesson of the Tynanes fight teaches, one has to constantly learn and develop new skills.

He says that he’s been working on his ground game. The fight with Shalorus will be a test. “You have to learn sa mga nangyayari sa ‘yo,” he says with conviction. “Ganyan talaga ang buhay. Laban lang. Di ba mas masaya kapag na achieve mo yung inaasam mo?”

The scar above his right eye is a reminder of a painful loss. But if he defeats Shalorus at One FC: Rise to Power, it will just be another battle scar on his road to redemption.

Tickets for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER on 31 May are exclusively available at Casino Filipino outlets nationwide. Refer to for details.

Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at

The first three undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

ONE FC: RISE TO POWER is headlined  by a ONE FC Featherweight World Championship bout between reigning champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario against number one contender Koji Oishi and pound-for-pound king Bibiano Fernandes taking on Koetsu Okazaki for the ONE FC Bantamweight Interim Title.  All the action takes place live from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

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