Folayang started by targeting his foe’s legs, but the 29-year-old Australian countered by pushing forward with a one-two combo that the Filipino mixed martial arts icon evaded. Caruso, however, was able to clinch and then secure the takedown.
Caruso landed in top position and connected with a few punches as he tried to advance to a better position from Folayang’s guard. He then pressed “Landslide” to the Circle Wall and landed more punches before the Filipino powered back to his feet. That didn’t last long, however.
The moment they separated, Caruso swung wildly and then shot for a big takedown, slamming the Filipino icon to the ground and landing in side control. Folayang quickly recovered by getting back to half-guard, but the Aussie remained active by throwing punches.
The first real scare for Folayang came near the end of the round. As he tried to power out of the position, Caruso latched onto the neck and attempted a guillotine choke. For a moment, it looked deep, but Folayang managed to break out. Then with 10 seconds remaining in the frame, “The Spartan” connected with a flying knee as the Filipino star only hit air with his head kick counter.
It was another fast start for Caruso in the second round.
The Australian pushed forward with punches, while Folayang tried to surprise his opponent with a takedown, which was easily stuffed. The moment they separated, “The Spartan” dropped his rival with a big right hand – similar to the one his Sanford MMA teammate Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen landed on Folayang years back.
Folayang got back up quickly, but he was visibly dazed as he tried to move forward. Adding to his woes was Caruso’s left hand, which kept the Filipino at bay. The Team Lakay star went for a leg kick, but the Aussie caught it and countered with a takedown. “Landslide” then attempted a choke, but Caruso easily escaped.
The two continued to exchange wildly on the feet, with Folayang targeting the Australian’s legs and Caruso making the Filipino pay with his short left hand.
After two tough rounds, Folayang was aggressive to start the third stanza and continued to target his opponent with leg kicks. It looked like a better round for the Filipino star, as the damage on Caruso’s lead leg continued to pile up.
Their roles reversed throughout the frame, with “Landslide” stalking Caruso as the Australian grappling champion backed up. Meanwhile, Caruso threw wild overhand rights, but Folayang – looking energized – continued to counter well.
The lightweight bout was stopped near the end of the round as the two fighters accidentally clashed heads, sending Folayang to the ground. The Filipino got back to action quickly, but Caruso got the takedown to close the match – and wrap up a dominant evening.
The scorecards were a mere formality, as Caruso got the nod from all three judges and Folayang applauded the deserving victor. The Australian improved to 8-1 in his career, solidifying his ascent in the lightweight division.