Ev Ting is promising an explosive performance against Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev when they meet in their lightweight bout at ONE: ‘Call to Greatness’ in Singapore next week.

“I’m going in there to take his head off, to try to finish him in an explosive manner just like he is trying to do to me. I’m coming in with full force as well. I am going to meet him head-on,” he says of his Istanbul-based opponent.

The fight is one of two ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix bouts taking place on Friday – and one that could lead ‘E.T’ to a fight against Eddie Alvarez later in the tournament.

It’s a prospect he is already excited about,

“With Eddie Alvarez coming in – he’s top three in the whole world – so the winner will be as credible as one of the top guys in the world. It’s a stacked division, and this is one of the biggest, most notable tournaments out there at the moment.”

“I would have loved to have gotten someone like Eddie Alvarez first, but I guess I just have to take out the young lions first and go from there,” he says.

Young lions

The first of those ‘young lions’ is Arslaniev, who, with a 6-1 record, is one of the hottest up-and-coming fighters in the ONE universe. Despite coming off a first-round submission defeat by Shinya Aoki at ONE: ‘Kingdom of Heroes’ in Bangkok in October, ‘The Extraterrestrial’ is undaunted as he considers his battle against the Turkish prospect.

He even sees Arslanaliev’s last performance, in which he inflicted a brutal first-round KO defeat on Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin, as cause for optimism,

“I watched the fight with Timofey, and in the early exchanges he was losing until he got that leg and landed the short punches. He surprised everybody with that finish,” he says.

With 21 professional fights under his belt, Ting believes he has plenty in his toolbox that will surprise his Turkish foe,

“My experience is definitely key to victory here. He’s only six fights into his professional mixed martial arts career.”

Still, Ting is realistic in his assessment of the fight’s prospects,

“In a kickboxing fight, I think I’d beat (Arslanaliev) 10 out of 10 times. In a wrestling battle, I think it would be maybe nine out of 10 for him, so I definitely respect that.”

Deep waters

With a stronger striking pedigree, The Extraterrestrial plans to take Dagi to deep waters,

“My goal is to take him to places that he hasn’t been to. For example, putting him on his back, hitting him a few times, putting him on the back foot and into the corner of the ring — all kinds of movements that he’s yet to see.”

Ting thinks the format of the fight favours him, too,

“Obviously, it’s in a ring, so it’s a bit different to what he’s used to in a cage, so, I will be using my movement, my timing, and my range, and I will be establishing a lot of things that I don’t think he’s used to yet.”

Ting believes his regimen at Bali MMA, where he has been training with ‘really tough guys’, will allow him to mitigate Dagi’s advantages on the mat,

“Over here in Bali, I’ve been training with BJJ black belts and great wrestlers. I’ve got full confidence in my team, and I really have confidence in my skills going into this one.”

“Who knows, I might take him down. I’m happy wherever the fight goes,” he adds.

Travelling man

The Indonesian paradise island, where he says he can fully dedicate himself to training, away from the pressures of home, is only the latest stop in Ting’s journey across the Asia Pacific region, which began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 29 years ago.

Growing up in a Malaysian-Chinese family, he says he learnt the value of hard work and dedication,

“My parents, my uncles, aunties, and grandparents were the hardest workers I know,” he explains.

“The work ethic that I have adapted from them is unmatchable.”

It was, in many ways, a fairly typical upbringing, in which he learned the value of respect for the people who provided for him. “I learned that you respect your elders and respect everybody.”

Alien environment

Aged six years old, his family migrated to New Zealand in search of a better life. There, The Extraterrestrial found himself in an alien, yet highly multicultural, environment – one he says was the making of him.

“This is where I was bred. This is where I learned my warrior spirit and to never give up. Also, I learned to set goals and achieve them, and the only way to do that is to put in the work and put the process goals in between to get the work done.”

With this international pedigree, Ting feels equally a representative of Malaysia and New Zealand, and at the same time, beyond both identities.

“Ultimately, I personally try not to represent anything in particular but this planet. I am about oneness, being at one with the world, and being at peace at all times.”

Let’s hope he makes an exception to that on Friday night.