The odds may not appear to be in Honorio “The Rock” Banario’s favor, but he is blocking out the noise and looking to make the most of his second chance in his ONE Championship return on Friday, 2 August.
Banario, a former ONE Featherweight World Champion, is scheduled to face dangerous Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinals at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES.
The Mankayan, Benguet native will enter the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila as a heavy underdog, but he believes with sound preparation, he can pull off a huge upset.
“I changed my diet because I want to go back to my younger days where I was faster, I had very good stamina, and I was generally leaner,” said Banario, who replaces the injured Lowen Tynanes in the World Grand Prix.
“I am controlling my sugar and watching my intake for food with high cholesterol so everything that I eat, I get to burn during training.”
Preparation is not something that Banario will be lacking, as he has someone in his corner who knows all about Nastyukhin.
He will be getting all sorts of advice from former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, who faced the Russian back in December 2014.
Folayang fell victim to the Russian’s devastating striking, as the Filipino martial arts hero was on the receiving end of a crushing knee, which knocked him out cold.
The 34-year-old has since bounced back from that horrifying loss, and he is now sharing his knowledge with his favorite training partner.
“Eduard keeps on telling me to watch out for his punches because when he punches, he gives it his all, but when you avoid it, he somewhat becomes out of balance,” Banario revealed.
“In wrestling, maybe that’s where I can match him. He’s explosive, so it’s something that I am looking at because I know we’re both strikers.”
As tough as this match is for Banario, the key for him is confidence and believing he can match Nastsyukhin wherever the action may take them.
That confidence can only be achieved with sturdy preparation.
“I am working on my striking and adding on my power, while practicing my grappling as well,” he said.
“We have a well-rounded training program in preparation for this, so that come event night, I’ll be very confident because I am in the best shape of my life.”
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