We're hours away from ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, where Filipino ONE Championship lightweight titleholder Eduard Folayang will attempt his first title defense against Malaysian fighter Ev Ting. Here's a breakdown of how the two stack up against each other.
Prepared to unleash the landslide
Folayang is the defending champion and the favorite going into this fight. He's coming off a win over Asian MMA legend Shinya Aoki via TKO, which won him the lightweight belt. In other words, 'The Landslide' has a ton of momentum in his favor. He's now unbeaten in three straight bouts, and his confidence is at an all-time high.
Folayang is also the bigger man. At 5'9", the Filipino is two inches taller than Ting, who's fought most of his career at featherweight. Folayang, who's very strong for the lightweight division, has even competed at welterweight, where he held a URCC title, making him the more imposing athlete.
Additionally, Folayang's training over the years with Filipino Judo and BJJ black belter John Baylon has drastically improved his grappling, which goes hand-in-hand with his already superb striking and conditioning. The Team Lakay star's wealth of experience, having fought professionally for nearly a decade and winning a Wushu SEA Games gold medal prior, will also help him in overcoming the pressure of defending his belt in front of the home fans.
This fight seems like it's Folayang's to lose, but his opponent has a knack for upsets.
Geared up for an upset
Ev Ting may not be a striking assassin like Timofey Nastyukhin or a grappling ace like Kamal Shalorus, he may not even be a physically imposing presence in the cage, but he's dangerous wherever the fight goes. The former featherweight title-challenger is your classic well-rounded fighter—a jack of all trades.
His resume also boasts wins over the likes of Honorio Banario, brothers Edward and Eric Kelly, Will Chope, and Rolando Dy. And out of his 14 professional victories, he's won four via KO/TKO and four via submission, proving that he can finish a fight whether on the ground or on the feet.
Ting, of Malaysian decent and training out of Aukland, New Zealand, is more than capable of pulling the upset this Friday and sending Pinoy fans home unhappy.
Like we said: Folayang is the clear favorite and he has momentum, size, and homecourt advantage in his favor. But he can't get careless against a guy like Ting, who can score a flash knockout or lock in a submission if Folayang makes a mistake. It'll be an interesting game of chess; we'll see tonight who makes the smarter moves.
Gab Pangalangan is an MMA columnist for Spin.ph. You can read more from him on his website dojodrifter.com.