Philippines’ Eric Kelly relishes underdog role vs Malaysian foe

Nissi Icasiano

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Philippines’ Eric Kelly relishes underdog role vs Malaysian foe
Kelly isn't intimidated by the prospect of fighting overseas

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Filipino fighter Eric Kelly revealed that entering enemy territory gives him the extra drive to come out on top of his marquee match-up against Malaysian-Kiwi combatant Ev Ting at ONE Championship’s “Clash of Heroes” event on Friday, January 29.

Although Kelly holds an impressive résumé in professional mixed martial arts (MMA), the 33-year-old veteran from Baguio City enters the 3-round featherweight contest with the underdog role as Ting has moved up in the division’s rankings since his 15-month absence due to a highly-publicized contract dispute with ONE.

Ting has won 4 of his 5 outings inside the ONE Championship cage, finishing his opponents by either knockout or submission.

In his recent victory, Ting submitted former ONE featherweight titleholder Honorio Banario in just 56 seconds with a first-round guillotine choke this past October.

Aside from Ting’s victory parade under the banner of Asia’s largest MMA promotion, the 26-year-old native of Auckland, New Zealand will have the benefit of having a raucous and partisan crowd at the 10,000-seater Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on his side.

Kelly stressed that is he in no way intimidated with the billing, which touts Ting as the clear favorite to win the bout.

In addition, Kelly shrugged off Ting’s hometown advantage, asserting that it will bring out his determination to walk away with a decisive victory.

“I don’t really care at all. I know I am ready and prepared for this fight. I am determined to win. My focus and drive to win are always there whether or not I am the underdog,” he told Rappler.

Kelly, who has been strutting his wares for ONE since September 2011, is not new to hostile conditions as he has had his hand raised in 4 of his 5 previous overseas fights.

“The Natural” is also a familiar face with the Malaysian audience as he fought in the country on 3 occasions, with the lone loss coming against compatriot Banario for the inaugural ONE featherweight championship in February 2013.

Though considered to be one of the best products of Philippine MMA, Kelly pointed out that he is a lot to prove in the sport as a tough test in Ting awaits.

“I am here to win and appreciate my value further as an MMA fighter. I am not yet done in MMA. There’s a lot of work to do,” he said. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI