Ev Ting went into the ONE: Throne of Tigers main event knowing that a potential shot at the lightweight belt was probably on the line. His title dreams are alive after the narrowest of split decision wins over Kamal Shalorus.
Shalorus came into this contest 2.8 kgs overweight and looked significantly bigger and stronger than Ting, who had the fans at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur firmly behind him. The Malaysian seemed to have a slight speed advantage, but the Iranian looked the more powerful man in the opening round.
Surprisingly, given his wrestling pedigree, Shalorus opted to trade strikes with Ting and didn’t seem interested in taking the fight to the floor. The strategy seemed to be paying off for the WEC and UFC veteran who narrowly missed with a huge straight right hand down the pipe.
Both men scored flash knockdowns in the opening round, while Ting landed a series of low kicks to his opponent’s left thigh. In round three, the Malaysian looked to score with more kicks, while Shalorus planted his feet and threw heavy leather, clearly feeling he had the capacity to win with a knockout.
Ting connected with a flying knee, which got the crowd going, but had no discernible effect whatsoever on Shalorus. Going into the final round, the fight was too close to call, but the Malaysian seemed a little lighter on his feet, while his opponent looked to load up with big right hands.
Midway through the round, Shalorus finally shot for a takedown, but Ting eventually wriggled free. With the clock ticking down, the Iranian connected with a couple of hard right hooks, which found their target, but didn’t seem to have the desired effect.
The fight was too close to call with Ting landing with greater consistency, but Shalorus throwing the more eye-catching shots. In the end, two of the judges saw it in favor of the Malaysian with the third voting in favor of the man from Iran.
With the win, Ting moves up to 13-3 and he is likely to challenge lightweight champion Eduard Folayang for his title in April. Shalorus drops to 9-5-2 and will probably need to move up a division if he wants to continue his competitive career.
The card also featured a fight between undefeated featherweights Herbert Burns and Movlid Khaibulaev with the former looking for his fifth straight ONE Championship win and the latter, who had divisional champion Marat Gafurov in his corner, making his promotional debut.
Khaibulaev controlled the action from start to finish, subjecting Burns to some heavy ground and pound throughout. The BJJ black belt repeatedly tried to trick him into going to the ground, but this strategy backfired badly and he ended up spending much of the fight on his back.
It was a very impressive performance from Khaibulaev, who improves to 11-0 and would be a very strong contender for an immediate title shot if the current champion wasn’t his close friend and training partner. Burns drops to 6-1 after suffering the first defeat of his career.
ONE: Throne of Tigers Official Results
- Ev Ting def. Kamal Shalorus by Split Decision after 3 rounds
- Agilan Thani def. Jeff Huang by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:10 minutes of round 2
- Ann Osman def. Vy Srey Khouch by TKO (Strikes) at 4:58 minutes of round 1
- Movlid Khaibulaev def. Herbert Burns by Unanimous Decision after 3 rounds
- Keanu Subba def. Ahmed Mujtaba by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:56 minutes of round 1
- Alex Silva def. Roy Doliguez by Submission (Armbar) at 2:36 minutes of round 3
- Saiful Merican def. Burn Soriano by TKO (Strikes) at 5:00 minutes of round 1
- Tiffany Teo def. Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol by Unanimous Decision after 3 rounds
- Muhammad Aiman def. Eduardo Novaes by TKO (Strikes) at 2:50 minutes of round 2
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