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MANILA, Philippines – Following a lackluster performance in his comeback bout nearly 3 months ago, Filipino fighter Eric Kelly receives an opportunity to bring back the shimmer in his prizefighting career as he makes another trip inside the ONE Championship cage against Ev Ting.
Although ONE has yet to publicly announce the 3-round featherweight encounter between Kelly and Ting, a reliable source within Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization confirmed the fight booking to Rappler.
The marquee match-up will take place at the 10,000-seater Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on January 29 as part of the undercard of ONE’s 38th fight card and eighth venture on Malaysian soil.
Kelly (12-1) is coming off a controversial decision victory over Japan stalwart Hiroshige Tanaka this past October.
Even though Tanaka managed to pacify his opponent’s stand-up leverage in the last two rounds, Kelly managed to walk away with a debatable unanimous decision as the featherweight bout was scored in its entirety and not on round-by-round basis.
The 33-year-old Baguio City native was in control of the entire first frame, where he utilized his striking arsenal from heavy high kicks to lunging right straights before converting a takedown courtesy of Judo hip toss after losing the grip on his Japanese foe’s head for a guillotine choke.
However, Tanaka shifted the momentum on his side in the second canto, where he countered with a solid right hook that completely rocked the Filipino before attaining a belly-to-belly takedown.
Tanaka punctuated the third and final round by scoring another takedown and quickly sinking in hooks for a rear-naked choke, but Kelly was saved by the bell.
Prior to his meeting with Tanaka, Kelly was sidelined for 15 months due to a contract dispute with ONE, which may have caused the poor performance of one of the highly-decorated products of the local MMA scene in the Philippines.
On the other hand, Ting (10-3) is fresh from his 56-second submission triumph over former ONE featherweight champion Honorio Banario last October.
Facing a Pinoy combatant is not new to the 26-year-old Malaysian-Kiwi as he came out victorious in 4 of his last 5 bouts against Filipino contenders, defeating the likes of Rolando Gabriel Dy and Cary Bullos.
Ting also owns a brutal first-round knockout win over Edward Kelly in October 2014 as he shut the lights off on Eric Kelly’s younger brother with a head kick.
Aside from Kelly, 4 other Filipino fighters are being rumored to take part of ONE’s second event in 2016, including the names of Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio. – Rappler.com