The main event at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS was an absolute war, but the hometown hero, Ev “E.T.” Ting, narrowly pulled away with a razor-thin split decision victory over “The Prince of Persia” Kamal Shalorus.
It was a back-and-forth stand-up war, where Ting was able to successfully throw the Iranian Wrestling Champion off his game with a fundamentally-sound approach.
“I knew I needed to fake a lot to put him off the takedown, but Kamal is tough. I hit him with a lot of shots, but he kept moving forward,” Ting told commentator Mitch Chilson in front of a sold-out crowd at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
The first round was a stand-up battle, and that foreshadowed what was to come.
Ting, a product of Auckland MMA, was methodical with his strikes. He kept switching between the southpaw and orthodox stances, cleverly mixing between punching combinations and powerful leg kicks, which bruised the lead leg of Shalorus.
However, “The Prince Of Persia” threw heavy punches with bad intentions, connecting with a number of hard jab-cross combos, as well as looping left hooks. There were a few instances where the Malaysian hero went for the takedown, but the master grappler shrugged him off and opted to keep the match on the feet.
More of this followed in the second stanza, with Ting’s unpredictable striking style taking precedence. “E.T.” spiced up his attack, kicking the body, the head, and further mincing up his opponent’s left leg. He even landed a flying knee, but Shalorus shook it off.
The Iranian, however, experimented less. Instead, he stuck to his strategy of throwing heavily, and throwing often. At a few points, he stopped the Malaysian’s attack with a stiff punch, causing him to re-think his game plan.
By the time the third round began, everything had heated up. Shalorus led with aggressive punching and some of the meanest leg kicks in the fight. That only infuriated Ting, who turned it up a few notches and retaliated with some kicks of his own. The Iranian finally went for a takedown, his first and only of the contest. He eventually clinched “E.T.” against the cage and took his back, but it led to nowhere as Ting broke free.
Fatigue began to set in and, despite the hard one-twos from Shalorus, Ting remained more active. He also briefly stunned the Iranian Wrestling Champion with less than a minute remaining, and got the better of the exchanges at the very end.
Though it was close, Ting pulled away with the victory. Now, he has his eyes set on the ONE Lightweight World Champion.
“Eduard Folayang, you already know I am coming to your house and taking your belt,” he stated.
Whether or not the officials at ONE Championship grant him the upcoming title shot against Folayang at the organization’s April show in Manila remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, Ting stated his case, picking up the win over a former number one contender. The 27-year-old improves his record to 13-3. He currently rides a four-fight win streak, and has won seven of his last eight fights. Shalorus takes the defeat hard, falling to 9-5-2 and stares at a two-fight skid.