Ev Ting picked the perfect time to come through with perhaps the finest performance of his career.
The New Zealand-based Malaysian lightweight submitted Eric Kelly with a third-round guillotine choke in the One Championship 38 “Clash of Heroes” headliner on Friday at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kelly (12-2) conceded defeat 1:58 into round three, his run of three consecutive victories at an end.
Ting (11-3) pushed a merciless pace. The 26-year-old Auckland MMA export committed to knees, both standing and on the ground, and methodically chipped away at Kelly’s resolve. Kelly saw a brief moment of hope come and go near the conclusion of round two, where he climbed to the back and set his hooks. However, Ting scrambled into top position, blasted him with a soccer kick and got busy with his ground-and-pound.
Desperation forced Kelly into his last mistake in the third round. There, while trying for a takedown, he wandered into a high-elbow guillotine and was left with no choice but to tap.
In the co-main event, Filipino standout Eduard Folayang captured a unanimous decision from Tetsuya Yamada in their three-round confrontation at 155 pounds. The 32-year-old Folayang (15-5) has won three of his last four fights.
Folayang dropped his Japanese counterpart with a left hook in the first round and employed a sharp jab, leg kicks and an effective sprawl that forced Yamada (15-4-2) to shoot, bail and butt scoot out of danger. Clearly behind on the scorecards, Yamada secured a takedown and advanced to half guard late in round three, only to see his work undone by a questionable referee restart with roughly 60 seconds left. It proved to be the final nail for the 25-year-old Zst champion.
The defeat snapped a career-best seven-fight winning streak for Yamada.
Meanwhile, Evolve MMA rep Jake Butler put away well-traveled Deep, Dream and Pancrase veteran Tatsuya Mizuno with a volley of first-round elbows in their catchweight duel at 210 pounds. A former NCAA All-American wrestler at Princeton University, Butler (7-1) brought it to a close 4:30 into round one.
Mizuno (14-11-1) enjoyed some brief success with leg and body kicks but failed to maintain a safe distance between himself and the American. Butler executed a takedown inside the first 50 seconds, punished him from the top ride position and eventually settled in full guard. From there, he deployed a series of elbows, gradually increasing their frequency intensity. With Mizuno unable to defend himself from the steady barrage, the stoppage was called.
Elsewhere, Lakay MMA’s Geje Eustaquio took a violent path to victory, as he disposed of Saiful Merican with a first-round soccer kick in their featured bantamweight affair. The unconscious Merican (4-3) met his end 1:21 into round one, as he lost for the second time in three appearances.
The two men spent the first minute pawing at one another with range-finding punches and kicks. Eustaquio (7-4) floored the Malaysian with a counter left hook and knocked him cold with a brutal follow-up soccer kick before referee Joey Lepiten could arrive on the scene.
In other action, Samir Mrabet submitted Sami Amin with an arm-triangle choke 1:31 into the second round of their lightweight clash; Keanu Subba took care of Rayner Kinsiong with punches and elbows 2:01 into the first round of their battle at 155 pounds; Christian Lee submitted Mahmoud Mohamed with a kimura 2:20 into round one of their featherweight scrap; Agilan Thani tapped James Kouame with a rear-naked choke 72 seconds into the second round of their pairing at 185 pounds; Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev cut down Mishal Alfad with punches 32 seconds into the first round of their lightweight tilt; and Jenny Huang submitted Amira Badr with a triangle choke 3:09 into the second round of their women’s catchweight encounter at 107 pounds.