Two featherweight contenders with very similar records went head to head in the main event of ONE: ‘Clash of Heroes’ on Friday night and it was Ev Ting who emerged as the decisive winner. He submitted Eric Kelly with a third round guillotine choke and stands on the cusp of a title shot.
The action at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur was frenetic from the start with Kelly eating a hard body kick and promptly taking Ting down. The Filipino briefly had his opponents back but couldn’t capitalize and was punished with a knee to the face during the ensuing scramble.
As the round progressed Ting slowly began to take control, landing a takedown and moving straight into side control. He stood up to land some punches and stomps to the grounded Kelly who gave up his back to escape the barrage.
The Malaysian couldn’t capitalize with a submission so the fight went to the second stanza and Ting secured another takedown. Kelly got to his feet and promptly tossed his opponent to the floor but lost position in the process and found himself on the receiving end of a couple more knees.
When Kelly finally succeeded in getting the fight to the ground Ting responded with a guillotine attempt but he inadvertently gave up his back and spent much of the remainder of the round defending a rear naked choke attempt.
Kelly came into round three knowing that he needed to do something dramatic to turn the fight around but Ting showed an even greater sense of urgency. He jumped for a guillotine choke from a standing position and ended up in mount where he was able to lock the submission in to force the tap from the Filipino.
The win was Ting’s fifth for ONE Championship and takes his record to 11-3, he’s a strong contender for a featherweight title shot. Kelly drops to 12-2 after suffering only the second loss of his entire career, both defeats have coincidentally come in the same city.
In the co-main event Eduard Folayang returned to the ONE Championship cage after a year long absence and showed no signs of ring rust. The Filipino fan favourite controlled the action from start to finish against Tetsuya Yamada, dropping the Japanese lightweight twice in the opening round.
Yamada looked bereft of ideas as Folayang continually found the mark with one-two combinations and inside leg kicks. In the end it was an easy decision for the judges who awarded the Filipino a win which takes him to 15-5 while his opponent drops to 15-4-2.
All the fighters competed at their normal, walking weight with Jake Butler’s clash with Tatsuya Mizuno taking place at a 209 lbs catchweight. The American took the Japanese veteran down in the opening round, moved into mount and proceeded to attack relentlessly with downward elbows.
After a series of unanswered blows the referee waved off the contest and Butler (7-1) stands on the cusp of a middleweight title shot. If he can reduce his walking weight to 205 lbs he should be next in line for a shot at middleweight king Vitaly Bigdash, Mizuno drops to 14-11-1.
Official results for ONE: CLASH OF HEROES
Ev Ting def. Eric Kelly by Submission (Mounted Guillotine) at 1:58, round 3
Eduard Folayang def. Tetsuya Yamada by Unanimous Decision
Jake Butler def. Tatsuya Mizuno by TKO (Strikes) at 4:30, round 1
Geje Eustaquio def. Saiful Merican by Knockout at 1:21, round 1
Samir Mrabet def. Sami Amin by Submission (Head and Arm Choke) at 1:31, round 2
Keanu Subba def. Rayner Kinsiong by TKO (Strikes) at 2:01, round 1
Christian Lee def. Mahmoud Mohamed by Submission (Single-Arm Chicken Wing) at 2:20, round 1
Agilan Thani def. James Kouame by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:12, round 2
Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev def. Mishal Alfad by TKO (Strikes) at 0:32, round 1
Jenny Huang def. Amira Badr by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:09, round 2