The hunt is on to find the first Malaysian MMA champion and one New Zealand based featherweight appears to have jumped straight to the head of the queue after an impressive ONE FC debut.
Ev Ting, who was born and bred in Malaysia, has spent much of his life in New Zealand, but is currently making a name for himself fighting in Asia. He will be taking on Edward Kelly at ONE FC: Roar of Tigers this Friday night (local time).
Ting (7-2) has fought in Kuala Lumpur once before, but never on a show of this scale, and is excited to be performing in front of the Malaysian fans at the 16,000-capacity Stadium Putra.
“It is a great honor to be able to represent my hometown and I am very grateful for this opportunity. My parents are from Sarawak, but all my siblings and I were born here in KL and lived here until I was 7, when we migrated to New Zealand.”
After stopping Indonesia’s top featherweight Yohan Legowo in the first round at ONE FC: Era of Champions, he is taking on another top contender in the shape of Kelly and is expecting the Filipino to come out with all gun’s blazing.
“He has a very aggressive Wushu style and proudly carries Philippines on his back for each one of his fights. I shall expect him to head butt my shins!”
Ting has a head kick knockout on his record already and would love nothing more than to finish a ONE FC fight in this sort of style. He has plenty of momentum behind him after that impressive performance against Legowo and wants to build on it with a second successive win.
“It was a great relief to get the first one out of the way so I can further prepare and focus for the rest of the division,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
ONE FC’s featherweight division was shaken up when Jadamba Naruntungalag won the title by beating previous champion Koji Oishi and undefeated former M-1 145-pound king Marat Gafurov looks set to be an immediate contender.
There’s plenty of depth in the division with the older of the two Kelly brothers, Eric, set to challenge for the belt next, but Ting believes another victory would put him right in the mix.
“I think after Kelly, I should get a top five guy and then from there a title shot sounds reasonable.”
Ting’s two losses have both come in fights, which took place inside a ring with the most recent being a split decision. He says he much prefers the cage and feels this is another reason that ONE FC fans will get to see this best of him.
“Gwang Choi (who beat Ting by split decision last year) is from a great team. He was more prepared that night, but if the fight was in a cage the result would’ve been a lot different.”
With Ting’s friends and family from Malaysia all heading to Stadium Putra to see him fight, the pressure is on, but a win over Kelly would propel him towards the top of the ONE FC rankings and make him a serious candidate for a 2015 title shot.
Fans around Asia can catch ONE FC: Roar of Tigers live on FOX 2 and fans from around the world can purchase the event for US$9.99 from www.onefc.com/livestream.
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