Ev Ting will make history on Friday Night, 21 April, as he will become the first Malaysian mixed martial artist to compete for an MMA World Championship.
Ting squares off against ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for the belt at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. He has the opportunity to make more history if he leaves the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, with the gold.
Not only does this title opportunity benefit the 27-year-old, but it has caused a ripple effect that extends to Malaysia’s blossoming MMA scene, and fortifies the sport’s legitimacy in the country even more.
Also, there are other homegrown prospects such as Agilan Thani and Keanu Subba, who are waiting in the wings to follow in Ting’s footsteps. In fact, Thani will now challenge ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren for the belt at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in Singapore on 26 May.
Overall, Ting’s lightweight title shot has had a profound impact on Malaysia and its rapidly-growing mixed martial arts community. Some of his ecstatic countrymen shared their thoughts on how this advances Malaysian MMA in the grand scheme of it all.
Agilan Thani, ONE Welterweight World Title Challenger
“This match-up will be epic for Malaysia. I am very sure Ev’s win will bring a great awakening in the Malaysian MMA scene. The MMA industry, as a whole, will pay attention to Malaysian fighters, for sure.”
Keanu Subba, ONE Featherweight Prospect
“I am definitely happy for Ev. I have known him for four years. He was there to help for my first MIMMA finals. From there, I always checked up on him and followed all his fights. You could just see the determination in his eyes. He is a hardworking person, and I am really proud of him. He definitely deserves this title shot.
“Ev, my brother Gianni (Subba), Peter Davis. These guys really put Malaysia on the map in terms of the pro scene. I truly believe Ev will beat Eduard Folayang, and that will definitely put Malaysia on the map even more. People will see that this country produces some of the best fighters in the world.”
AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor, Malaysian MMA Pioneer
“I am excited and proud to see a fellow Malaysian fighter get a title shot. As one of the earliest on the scene, helping to bring MMA into Malaysia, I have watched the sport of MMA really boom over the past decade from being virtually unknown and thought of as a brutal underground blood sport, to having such widespread acceptance and popularity, including so many teams and MMA fitness centers popping up around the country.
“It is the perfect time to see our fighters move to the international spotlight like this. Ting winning the title belt will be proof that Malaysians have come a long way and are truly global competitors that other top contenders will be looking to fight against. Having Malaysians competing on an international stage like this sets a great example for the younger generation especially, that with hard work and big dreams, there are no limits!”
Ann Osman, ONE Strawweight Star
“It is a big step. Ev has been hustling hard to get to where he is right now. I know he has been training in and out of Malaysia, in New Zealand and all over the place, but he has always been proud to represent Malaysia. It definitely helps to put Malaysia on the map, especially in the MMA world where Malaysia is kind of unknown, but Malaysia MMA is growing, and to have talents like Ev Ting finally get a title shot against a tough opponent, that is a big step.
This is a big opportunity and a good thing for the country, especially with Tune Talk and MIMMA growing the young amateur fighters who will hopefully turn pro. You have [Muhammad] Aiman, Keanu Subba, and Agilan Thani, who are also climbing up that ladder to get a title shot, so I can definitely say this will make people realize Malaysia has loads of talent.
It will definitely inspire more local fighters to try the sport, or those already competing in their different [martial arts] styles to eventually transition into MMA. They will realize this sport can take you far.”
“The Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman, Rising Flyweight Prospect
“It is really big for Malaysia, because when I started MMA four years ago, I never would think MMA in Malaysia would grow this fast. It is definitely growing faster than I would [have] imagined, especially with the help of Tune Talk helping all the prospects in Malaysia to be better fighters.
“This could be a really big chance for Malaysian MMA to open up [in terms of] media coverage and everything, and that could make things a little bit easier for Malaysian fighters to become full-time fighters, because all the sponsorships will start to come in.”