ONE lightweight champion Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang defends his belt against challenger Ev ‘E.T.’ Ting on Friday night (April 21) at the Mall of Asia Arena, Philippines, and accepts he will have to be at his “absolute best” to conquer the younger man from Malaysia.

Folayang, 33, is six years Ting’s senior and has been a professional mixed martial artist for over a decade. A product of the legendary Team Lakay in Baguio City, he enjoyed a career resurgence in 2016, winning three consecutive fights, one of which saw him shock MMA legend Shinya Aoki and claim the ONE lightweight title. Folayang stopped Aoki in the third round that night last November, securing the wins with knees and punches, and knows he will have to be similarly impressive if he’s to retain his belt against Ting.

“Ev Ting is a great athlete,” he says. “He is an amazing competitor and has obviously earned the opportunity to challenge for the title. He is the complete package, with good striking and a really good ground game. I need to be at my absolute best to make sure I can defend the belt successfully.

“I would love to test my skills against the best martial artist in the world, and to show everyone how much I have improved since my last match. I’m excited to showcase my skills in front of my countrymen.”

Ting, 27, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is on a hot streak of his own. Winning each of his last four fights, two via submission and two by decision, Ting has proven himself a threat both standing and on the ground and seems more than ready to fight for the belt.

“I have worked very hard to earn this opportunity,” says the challenger. “Eduard Folayang is a great champion and embodies the true values of martial arts, but I’m coming for the belt. I know chances like this are very rare and I will do my best to take the title home for my family and all of my fans. I feel strong and ready. I was built for this moment and I’m going to capture it and bring pride and honour to my country.”

The Folayang vs. Ting title bout serves as the main event of ONE: Kings of Destiny, which also features other Filipino fighters including Honorio Banario, Kevin Balingon, Eugene Toquerom Danny Kingad, Rabin Catalan and Gina Iniong.

“Since it is ONE Championship’s tenth event on Philippine soil we have prepared the very best match lineup for the delight of our Filipino audience and the rest of the world,” says Loren Mack, ONE Championship Vice President for Public Relations and Communications.

“ONE: Kings of Destiny is going to be the biggest mixed martial arts card in the country’s history. We have the Philippines’ biggest star in Eduard Folayang defending his world title for the first time in Manila against Malaysia’s top contender Ev Ting. I just cannot begin to say how massive of a main event this will be. In addition, a handful of compelling bouts between Asia’s top superstars are set to take place inside the ONE Championship cage on fight night. Fans will not want to miss all the action that goes down in Manila, as we are already gearing up for an absolutely electrifying evening of world-class mixed martial arts.”