In a relatively stacked lightweight division, Ev Ting (14-4) can put his name forward as a worthy title contender if he scores a dominant victory against Ariel Sexton (11-3) at ONE: Quest for Gold this weekend.
With lightweight champion Martin Nguyen temporarily competing outside of the division, it presents the lightweight stars who are competing in Yangon, Myanmar, an opportunity to solidify themselves as a top contender for when Nguyen returns to defend his title.
A quest for gold
Ting’s battle with Sexton is of utmost importance if the Malaysian wants to challenge for the lightweight title for the second time.
After moving to the lightweight division in February 2017, Ting picked up a split decision victory over Kamal Shalorus that earned him a shot at then-champion Eduard Folayang. Ting and Folayang battled it out for 25 minutes before it was announced that the Filipino had done enough to retain his title.
For Ting, the minor setback has been “a blessing in disguise.” The 28-year-old explained, “It just was not my time, and I feel when it is my time, it will be much more rewarding.”
After initially expressing interest in a rematch with Folayang, it’s now clear that Ting instead now has his eyes set on Nguyen and the lightweight title.
Ting has been spending his time with the team at Bali MMA to help him prepare for his upcoming bout. He announced on Facebook that he traveled to Bali MMA because of the “coaches, team and vibes all around,” and that he “can’t wait to show off my new takedowns.”
With the second-most victories in ONE Championship history (8) and the third-most finishes in the history of the organization (6), fans of Ev Ting are surely expecting another brilliant performance from “E.T.”
And a tremendous showing at ONE: Quest for Gold could be enough for Ting to start working his way to what would be a highly anticipated showdown with Martin Nguyen one day in 2018.
Ev Ting vs. Ariel Sexton is a scheduled lightweight bout at ONE: Quest for Gold on Friday, February 23, in Yangon, Myanmar.
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.