Edward Kelly believes joining a team will help turn his kuya Ericís career around
ďSana marinig niya yung payo ko na pumunta siya sa team, kahit pumunta siya sa team namin or hindi, basta pumunta siya sa team. Iba talaga yung tulong ng team.Ē - Edward Kelly (left) to older brother Eric (right)
ONE Championship’s Global Superheroes card in Manila last Friday marked the first time that Baguio-born brothers Eric and Edward Kelly found themselves fighting on the same card.
Both Eric and Edward have carved their own paths towards MMA stardom in the Philippines and Asia, with the older Eric at one point being considered as the best mixed martial artist to come out of the Philippines, while Edward, a pioneer member of the famed champion-producing Team Lakay stable in Baguio City, made a name for himself as a must-see knockout artist.
For years, Edward was overshadowed by his Kuya Eric’s status as one of the best in the Philippine MMA scene but as of late, it has been the younger Kelly who’s been on a roll.
The Mall of Asia Arena could have played host to a couple of Kelly wins that Friday night, but instead their nights went in very different directions.
On the preliminaries, Edward needed only 21 seconds to deliver a now-viral faceplant knockout of Cambodian Meas Meul, while Eric was on the wrong end of a sneaky D’Arce choke submission from the returning Rafael Nunes of Brazil.
It was Eric’s fourth consecutive loss, all of which have come by way of stoppage. Edward on the other hand, has won four of his last five bouts.
“Feeling ko na disappointed, tapos pang-apat pa na talo niya, parang wala akong magawa eh,” Edward said, talking about his brother’s loss during the post-event press conference. He saw the fight first hand, as he came back out cage side to corner his Kuya Eric.
Edward believes that at this point, Eric needs to think about getting better help in terms of training, which means joining a stable.
“Although nagte-training kami, ako kasi sa team eh, iba talaga yung team, yun yung sinasabi ko sa kanya, kaya ini-invite ko siya sa Team Lakay,”
At Team Lakay, Edward trains with the likes of former ONE world champions Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario, newly-crowned ONE interim flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio, and top-tier ONE contenders like Kevin Belingon, Joshua Pacio, and Danny Kingad, just to name a few. A proverbial all-star roster of Pinoy MMA talent.
Eric however, has always been his own team, a lone wolf of sorts.
“Kaso siya, simula’t-sapul kasi nasanay na siya sa sarili, kumbaga yung tinuring na sakanya yung ‘One Man Army’, kaya parang pinapanindigan niya yung ‘Natural’ na pangalan niya, kasi pag-tinatanong ko siya kung saan siya nagte-training, ‘doon lang sa bundok’ sinasabi niya, kaya parang pinanindigan niya.”
Edward adds that while Eric’s style of training may have brought him a great deal of success back then, times are changing and it may not yield the same results in today’s MMA landscape.
“Sa ngayon iba na eh, yung MMA pataas na ng pataas yung level, hindi gaya noon siguro na pwede pa yung technique niya, ngayon tumaas na.”
Edward’s plea now to his kuya is simple: join a team, Team Lakay or not.
“Sana marinig niya yung payo ko na pumunta siya sa team, kahit pumunta siya sa team namin or hindi, basta pumunta siya sa team. Iba talaga yung tulong ng team.”