As surprising as it may seem, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen didn’t plan for the spectacular way he finished Eduard Folayang at ONE: Legends of the World.
After a back-and-forth first round, Nguyen settled into the contest during the second round and launched a cannon-like right hand that caught the unsuspecting Folayang just as he initiated a spinning attack. Nguyen’s power in his right hand shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as the now two-division champion previously destroyed Marat Gafurov with the same strike to take the ONE Featherweight World Championship at ONE: Quest for Greatness.
The way he did it, however, caused people to believe that he and KMA Top Team had drilled this same devastating strike all through their training camp. After all, Team Lakay’s Folayang was always going to try to tag Nguyen with spinning attacks – it was just that Nguyen caught him at the most perfect of times.
The game plan
Nguyen spoke to The Body Lock and explained that although his lethal left hand looked orchestrated, it was not the game plan:
“The game plan was to wear him out and take him to the later rounds so that I could start utilizing my wrestling. We knew that he was going to come out strong. Team Lakay all have legit striking. There was no way I was going to stand and trade with him like he did with Ev Ting.”
“In the first round, I was trying to keep myself composed for the later rounds because Folayang is a decision fighter. There was a high chance that we would be going to a decision in this fight. I wanted to win those later rounds; round three, four, and five. I was staying composed.”
“The main thing when it comes to fighting is staying composed. Some people get a mad adrenaline dump and rush in there and go for the kill, but I wanted to stay composed and wait for my opportunity.”
Nguyen’s effort to stay composed against the perennial force in ONE Championship that is Eduard Folayang was even more impressive considering the competitive nature of the first round.
“I’d say that he edged me in the first round because he was just going all guns blazing,” Nguyen stated. “He was landing leg kicks, and my leg is still bruised at the moment but it’s not giving me too much grief. But, I read that his style of kicks, you know in the second round I came out ready for them.”
Nguyen has shown time and time again that his hands become increasingly dangerous for an opponent as he settles into a contest. Almost mirroring the performance against Gafurov, Nguyen connected with his devastating right hand just minutes into the second round. The scenarios were much the same, as well. Like Folayang, Gafurov had attempted a kick just before Nguyen intercepted him with his right hand.
Don’t get confused
Nguyen shared some insight into his strategy for defeating the Team Lakay superstar:
“The whole training camp, I was wrestling. My ears are still on fire from the training camp. Yeah, I still obviously worked my striking and my boxing, and I had my striking coach with me this time. Every time we trained, I felt confident in my stand-up.”
No one has ever put Eduard on his back and drowned him in wrestling or jiu-jitsu and that’s what I wanted to do.
“Obviously, Folayang has way better stand-up than I do,” Nguyen explained. “He’s more diverse. I don’t like to take risks in a fight. I like to get in there, get my job done, and get out of there, you know.”
As for how Nguyen expects opponents to prepare for him in the future, he stated:
“Everyone is going to think that he is going to throw that right hand, that’s all he has got.”
“In terms of that right hand, people know that it’s coming. Whether they can stop it or not is a different story.”
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.