ONE Championship: Eric Kelly Looks To End Skid In Front Of Countrymen And Family

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 08, 2019 06:36 PM
Eric Kelly Looks To End Skid In Front Of Country And Family
"You'll see an even better Eric Kelly than you have seen before when I step back in the cage.”

Eric "The Natural" Kelly is feeling extra motivated ahead of his ONE Championship return this Friday, 12 April.

The 35-year-old makes his first promotional appearance in nearly a year when he meets "Pretty Boy" Kwon Won II in a featherweight contest at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR, which takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.

However, there is another reason for Kelly's high morale.

Not only will he have the home crowd behind him, but also, his younger brother Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly will be on his side that evening.

“It’s exciting because we’re fighting on the same card,” said the older Kelly sibling. “Sometimes we train together, but not all the time because it’s very rare that I visit him.”

The brothers rarely get to train together, as Edward works exclusively with Team Lakay in Baguio City, whereas the “The Natural” hops from gym-to-gym.

Although the two have different training ideologies, Kelly is proud of his brother’s development under mixed martial arts pioneer Mark Sangiao.

“I am very happy for Edward because he’s with Team Lakay, the strongest stable in the country when it comes to the sport of mixed martial arts,” he explained.

“The Natural” had a meteoric rise in ONE’s talent-filled featherweight division, garnering wins over big names such as Jens Pulver and Rob Lisita. 

Lately, however, Kelly has fallen on hard times. He is on a five-bout skid, losing all of those matches via stoppage.

When he steps into the Mall Of Asia Arena on Friday, it will be the first time he has competed since last May, and he intends to snap his losing streak.

“I’m just happy for the opportunity given to me to perform in my home country. There’s pressure and uncertainty in this match because it’s in front of my kababayans,” he confessed.

"I am really happy to be back because this is what I really want to do. I feel like it is an important match for me because it may have my combat career on the line.”

In addition to having his home crowd and brother on his side, Kelly also brings more experience into the featherweight tilt.

His 23-year-old South Korean opponent may have a certain fire and perhaps some more explosiveness, but “The Natural” believes his veteran savvy will pay dividends on event night.

"Having been a martial artist for almost 20 years, I have a wealth of knowledge in the cage that I can use to my advantage," he said. 

"You'll see an even better Eric Kelly than you have seen before when I step back in the cage.”

Latest News