Local fans in attendance for ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will likely have a vested interest in a handful of the martial artists set to compete on the 15-bout card filled with mixed martial arts, Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Chief among the top rooting interests for the Malaysian fans figure to be veteran lightweight and perennial title contender Ev Ting. In a crucial main card clash, Ting will battle Japan’s Daichi Abe in what could be a make-or-break match for both men’s immediate hopes of title contention.
Ting comes into the bout on a two-match losing streak. He has suffered first-round stoppage losses to Shinya Aoki (arm-triangle choke submission) and Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (KO). This is the first losing streak of Ting’s career, and without question, he would love nothing more than to bring it to a screeching halt in front of his home country’s fans.
If Ting brings an element of desperation into the ONE Championship circle in Kuala Lumpur, he won’t be the only one with a gotta-have-it mentality. Abe has lost three consecutive matches dating back to before he joined the promotion.
In his ONE debut, Abe was stopped in the first round by veteran Brazilian striker Luis Santos after absorbing a nasty kick to the midsection. Abe is known as an excellent stand-up fighter, and Ting has some of those same qualities. The question heading into this one is, will both men compete aggressively, or will they elect to keep it safe and defensive to nullify any mistakes that could lead to the extension of their losing streaks?
Ting has a huge advantage when it comes to experience with ONE and in mixed martial arts overall. The match with Abe will be the 23rd of his professional career compared to just the 10th for his opponent. Does that give Ting an edge? It might, but we won’t know for sure until both men are in the circle.
“The Shadowcat” is one of the most promising atomweights with ONE Championship. She’s still very young and has some work to do with the development of her striking, but Radzuan is a battler with an impressive grappling base.
She lost her last bout against the Philippines’ Gina Iniong in February at ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS. The bout was close, but two of the judges saw it in favor of Iniong. Even in defeat, Radzuan proved she has a bright future. Iniong is one of the few serious title contenders in the ONE women’s atomweight division. The only losses of her career have come against high-quality opposition like Mei Yamaguchi and Cortney Casey.
If Radzuan could push her the distance and win the bout on one judges’ card, she is obviously a high-level competitor.
Radzuan will now be competing in her home country against another Filipina in Jomary Torres. If there was ever someone in need of a victory, it is Torres.
Like Abe, she has lost three in a row. In her defense, the defeats have come against formidable competition in Yamaguchi, Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol and Lin Heqin. It seems her level of competition is being deescalated, and she is still coming up on the short end. A loss against Radzuan could be extremely damaging to Torres as it would drop her professional record to 4-4.
Likewise, if Radzuan fails to defeat Torres, she won’t be able to group herself in the same category as the women who have beaten her opponent. It is a high stakes bout, and that’s not even considering Radzuan’s evident desire to perform well in her own country.
A Malaysian Muay-Thai Battle
Malaysia’s Saiful Merican takes on his countrymen Mohammed Bin Mahmoud in a ONE Super Series Bantamweight Muay Thai bout. The crowd will be loud when these two warriors climb into the ring. Merican has competed with ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts division since 2013, and he is a Kuala Lumpur native. He’s known for his all-action style and of course his striking.
Because of his local tie-ins, there will be a lot of pressure on Merican to perform well. It seems he may be done with mixed martial arts as his last bout in that sport took place in 2017. It was a submission loss to Chen Lei at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS. With his focus seemingly squarely on Muay Thai, Merican could be a force.
It seems this is the card for athletes trying to shake a three-bout losing streak. Like Torres and Abe, Mahmoud is also on a three-bout skid. He has lost to Hiroaki Suzuki, Panicos Yusuf, and Andrew Miller all this year. Amazingly, this match with Merican will be his fourth of 2019. It’s feasible he could compete again before the end of the year, but it’s also possible this is Mahmoud’s last chance to get a victory before 2020. There is a lot on the line.