After recreating himself as a lightweight contender when he joined the division last year, Malaysian-Kiwi powerhouse Ev “E.T.” Ting has been a force to be reckoned with in ONE Championship’s stacked 77.1-kilogram weight class.
With the main objective of continuing his ascent up the lightweight ranks, Ting takes on former world title contender Koji “The Commander” Ando of Japan on the undercard of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, which takes place at the Studio City Event Center in Macau, China on 23 June
Since dropping a close decision to previous titleholder Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in April 2017, Ting has marched back to title contention with a pair of impressive performances.
The 28-year-old spitfire from Auckland, New Zealand knocked out ex-ONE Welterweight World Champion Nobutatsu Suzuki in August 2017 before he notched a split decision victory over Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton this past February.
If he can defeat a fellow former world title challenger in Ando and make it three wins in a row, he may secure his second crack at the gold.
“There is a traffic jam with the champion (Martin Nguyen) fighting in three different divisions. Lightweight is easily the most stacked division in ONE Championship. I will get my shot regardless. I will knock the other contenders down one by one until I get it. It is just a matter of time,” he said.
Preparing at Bali MMA for his upcoming bout, Nguyen believes that a victory in convincing fashion will bring him closer to a title opportunity against ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who faces Kevin Belingon for the interim bantamweight crown on 27 July in Manila, Philippines.
“I talked to Martin, and if I were him, I would be doing exactly the same thing. He is only doing what is smart for him. I have nothing against Martin. He is doing everything right, but he has to either defend or vacate the lightweight world title eventually,” he stated.
“If ONE Championship wants an exciting match-up, this is the one to make, but obviously, there are different interests in play. We just have to wait at the right moment,” Ting added.
The latest obstacle standing before Ting on the road to the division’s summit offers another interesting challenge.
With a professional record of 12-6-2, Ando is one of Japan’s fiercest competitors, having been a professional martial artist since 2008.
The 33-year-old Japanese warrior has never been in a boring bout as he remains a threat to any champion or opponent, owning four submission victories and four knockout triumphs.
In his most recent contest, Ando went three grueling rounds with the hard-hitting Timofey Nastyukhin but lost via unanimous decision.
With an array of diverse striking skills, coupled with solid submission grappling credentials, Ando is hungry to claim victory inside the five-rope ONE Championship ring at the expense of Ting.
“I would feel I was right there for at least the interim title, even [now]. But when they offered me Koji, I was not going to turn that down. Koji is no joke either. He is a Legend FC lightweight champion, he has never been finished, and his stand-up and judo are on point,” Nguyen claimed.
Ting stressed that he is not underestimating his Japanese opponent at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, which is headlined by two world championship clashes.
“People are going to see him as somebody who just came off a loss, but he is definitely no chump. He is definitely very dangerous,” he suggested.
Ting desperately desires to get his second crack at the ONE Lightweight World Championship, knowing that being the first competitor to finish Ando will put him in an advantageous position.
“If I can get a solid finish, I would feel that I am right there for the title shot. I am not the matchmaker, but a lot of people would vouch that I am deserving of a title shot. I won’t stop until I get my shot,” he declared.