Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario plans to rely heavily on his striking skills to counter legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki’s vaunted grappling game when they clash in one of the most anticipated matches at ONE: CENTURY, live from the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on October 13.
Banario, who is currently facing a slump after dropping his last two bouts, is looking for a massive comeback win in Japan.
The Baguio City native has watched Aoki’s performances over the years since they both made their debut with ONE Championship in 2012.
Aoki has a long documented career and is a pioneer in the Asian mixed martial arts industry. The Japanese legend has competed in 53 bouts, winning 43 of them. A whopping half of those wins came by way of submission, which proves just how dangerous the “Tobikan Judan” can be when he manages to take an opponent down.
“Shinya’s greatest strength is his ground game and submission skills,” Banario said.
“He is always moving around to get the best position. He can take advantage of the tiniest openings to make you tap out. His takedowns are also something I need to be careful about, and I can’t overextend myself because he will definitely be looking to take action to the mat.”
Eduard Folayang, who has faced Aoki twice in the past, splitting their series, was more than willing to give his Team Lakay stablemate Banario advice for the upcoming bout, as was head coach Mark Sangiao.
“Coach Mark and Eduard have been working with me closely to come up with a game plan,” Banario said.
“I have seen him fight in the years we have been in this promotion, but this meeting of ours will be a first. Eduard has faced him twice already, and his experience will be valuable to me. Aoki is very dangerous in the first round, but after that, he is a little more vulnerable to be knocked out.”
“I am working on my ground game as well as my striking. His striking skills are not as good as mine, that is his weakness. I believe that I will come up on top if we keep the match in a stand-up. I cannot reveal what we have come up with but expect an exciting match.”
Banario knows that Folayang’s help can only take him so far — the rest will depend on his preparations and execution come event night. “The Rock” is looking forward to an exciting match and hopes to show everyone a better version of himself in Tokyo.
“This match between Shinya and I is only about us,” Banario said.
“I am there not to take revenge for Eduard, and he knows it. It is my chance to prove to myself and my fans that I am a world-class athlete who can stand up against a legendary figure in his hometown. It will be a match between two former world champions with two different specialties, and I plan to win.”