Ev “E.T.” Ting scored a split decision victory in a close back-and-forth battle with Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton at ONE: Quest for Gold.
The two contrasting styles came together in the center of the ONE Championship cage early. Sexton showed a wide stance and casually drifted laterally around Ting, while “E.T.” crept forward.
Ting started things off with a crushing leg kick and Sexton answered straight back with a leg kick of his own. The two began to test each other with strikes and Sexton was forced to block many of Ting’s kicks up high. After forcing his opponent to worry about the high kick, Ting started to slam kicks into Sexton’s thigh. Sexton expressed some pain and wobbled slightly after a devastating leg kick.
While the leg kicks were the story of the first round, Sexton did have a brief opportunity to showcase his grappling. After the two engaged in a clinch, Sexton smoothly transitioned to the back with ease before attempting a somewhat courageous flying submission attempt.
After Ting controlled most of the action in the first round, things changed dramatically after Sexton shot in and secured a quick takedown. Ting had no problems standing back up, but Sexton began to smother his opponent before connecting with a series of uppercuts. Sexton had now worked his way back into the fight, and it seemed as though Ting was fatiguing. “Tarzan” likely gained an edge on how the fight was being scored during the second round, primarily as a result of his slam takedowns and control while also continuing to land combinations of strikes while Ting was backed to the cage.
A final impression
It wasn’t much easier for Ev Ting at the start of the third round. Ting gave up his back to Sexton in the turtle position, but the black belt instead wrapped up a tight choke submission rather than digging in hooks and controlling Ting. The choke was tight enough for Olivier Coste to check to see whether Ting was still conscious, and moments after Ting transitioned into side control and began to land some significant strikes.
Ting mixed up his strategy in the final round, and it was this change of approach that possibly influenced the judges in their analysis of the fight. “E.T.” scored a brilliant takedown and began to land ground and pound from Sexton’s butterfly guard. The two separated, but then Ting caught a high kick of Sexton’s. After debating whether to engage with “Tarzan” on the mat, Ting eventually went down and punished him with some damaging ground and pound to end the contest.
With the win, Ev Ting moves to 15-4 and is now likely to face off with Timofey Nastyukhin for the ONE Interim Lightweight Championship. Ariel Sexton falls to 11-4 after suffering his first defeat since December 2014.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.