SINGAPORE: Mixed martial arts exponent Amir Khan was aiming to be the first Singapore citizen to win a ONE Championship world title on Friday night (Nov 23), but the 24-year-old fell short after a bruising encounter against Filipino veteran Eduard Folayang.
Khan lost to Folayang by unanimous decision after five rounds at the lighweight (up to 77kg) world title bout during ONE's "Conquest of Champions" event in Manila.
Khan was second favourite throughout the fight, struggling to cope with the home favourite's spinning heel kicks and reverse elbows.
Folayang, who came into the bout with a record of 20 wins and six losses, stuck to his game plan of pinning his Singaporean opponent against the cage before striking him relentlessly.
Before the fight, Khan predicted that Folayang would struggle against his lanky frame, however the Filipino's range of attack was not impeded. By the third round, Folayang's blows on Khan's chin had left the latter with a bloody gash on his cheek.
All three judges voted Folayang as the winner of the bout after 25 minutes of fighting.
Khan, who needed medical attention after the fight, looked distraught as he told reporters that he needed to recover and review the fight to learn what went wrong.
"I need to go back and look at it. I think I did well keeping my distance but I got sucked into his game, getting elbows from him during the clinch. I have to go back, look and recover and see what's next," said Khan.
The defeat is Khan's fourth in his professional MMA career.