Adelaide’s own Antonio Caruso will look to prove – to himself – that he’s better than his last fight with ONE Championship. Up against yet another big name and experienced staple of the promotion, he takes on Eduard Folayang in a lightweight bout at ONE: Inside The Matrix this Friday, October 30.
In his debut for the promotion last October, “The Spartan” lost a unanimous decision to Pieter Buist, a Dutch fighter who was 15-4 at the time. It was the first loss of his MMA career.
“I took it on board. It is what it is,” Caruso told Fight News Australia. “I grew from it and I’m going to show that I grew from it. I’m not a guy just talking about things. I’m going to go out there and prove – mainly to myself – that I did learn from it and I am a better fighter for it.”
“I was really disappointed in myself that I made mistakes that I could’ve fixed. That’s what this fight is all about; proving to myself that those were just small hiccups that I made in preparation and I’m going to prove that I am a world class fighter and a world class athlete.”
With just eight professional MMA fights under his belt (7-1) compared to Folayang’s 31 (22-9), again his opponent will have the edge when it comes to experience.
“They’re definitely throwing me to the wolves, I’m not gonna lie,” the 29-year-old said.
While acknowledging he’s been given no favours in matchups, he takes the opportunity to “rank up quickly” as a compliment. And Caruso is resolutely confident he has all it takes to defeat the Filipino.
“Taking the fight in general just shows that I’m confident I can win this fight no matter what,” said Caruso. “Eduard is a good fighter. I’m not gonna take that away from him, but his highlights are great. He’s a highlight fighter. If you watch his highlights he looks like a scary dude, but if you pull him apart – he’s 36, he’s coming off multiple losses, his weakness is jiu-jitsu – to me it’s the perfect fight. It’s a great fight for me.”
Caruso is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt and has also competed in professional boxing (4-1-1). The South Australian has been training intermittently for the past year at Sanford MMA gym in Florida, a decision he credits with a “massive, massive” leap in his development as a martial artist.
“The team that I’m involved with now is arguably the best team in the world. I’m training with multiple world champions, ex-world champions. We’ve pretty much got a roster of active guys in the gym, 30 to 40 guys and at least 75 – 80% of them are all signed to major organisations.”
“You have no choice but to get better,” he added.
ONE: Inside The Matrix will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Aung La N Sang and Reinier De Ridder. It takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore this Friday, October 30 and will air from 8.30pm (AWST) via the ONE Championship YouTube channel and ONE Super App.