Former ONE Lightweight World Title challenger Ev Ting has taken a massive step toward his dreams.
The Malaysian known as “E.T.” defeated Costa Rica’s Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton via split decision in a thrilling back-and-forth encounter at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD on Friday, 23 February, in Yangon, Myanmar.
“Man, we went to war,” the 28-year-old Ting enthuses.
“I knew Ariel was a world-class competitor, but I had this confidence in the first round that I was going to knock him out in round two. But then he came back, and I had to dig deep. I wanted it more, but what a great match!”
Classic match-ups are the ones with swings in momentum, drama, and intrigue. This lightweight tilt delivered all of that, and much more.
Throughout the course of fifteen minutes, each warrior showcased their repertoire of skills, both on the feet and on the ground. There were moments where each seemed to have opportunities to finish the other off, but Ting and Sexton proved to be durable.
Neither man came out of the battle unscathed, but both certainly won the respect of the fans inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium, and undoubtedly raised their stock in the eyes of ONE Championship’s matchmakers.
Although Ting was thrilled to get his hand raised, he does have one regret.
“I was sure I did enough to win,” the Malaysian says. “I am just disappointed I did not get the finish, because I trained so hard, and everything went right for the camp. But I have got to give props to ‘Tarzan.’ He is tough.”
Ting elevates his professional record to 15-4, and has back-to-back wins over quality opposition including Sexton, and former ONE Welterweight World Champion Nobutatsu Suzuki.
There is no doubt “E.T.” is operating at an elite level and now, with his recent successes, he believes he is ready for a second shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
While he may have earned that with the win over Sexton, there is another top contender who may have some objections. Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin is firmly in the mix too, especially after his clear-cut unanimous decision victory over Evolve MMA’s Amir Khan earlier in the night.
As far as Ting is concerned, there are only a few scenarios that make sense, and they involve the world title, the Russian, or potentially both.
“There are only two bouts on my radar,” he says.
“The champ [Martin Nguyen] should defend or vacate his title, and if he is going to vacate, then me and Timofey should compete for the belt. But it is pretty much Martin or Timofey, and I would plan to win both of those matches by KO.”
However, always a consummate professional, “E.T.” will just remain on task, and wait to answer the call from ONE Championship.
Now, Ting is back to training at Auckland MMA, where he can keep his focus for when the opportunity arises. And if he were to get a second crack at the ONE Lightweight World Title, then he promises to capitalize on it.
“It was definitely not my time before, but there is time for everything,” he muses. “I have worked hard to get to where I am. It is not by accident that I am here. I have just got to stay ready.”