MMA: Pinoy battles Thai in Malaysia
SINGAPORE – In the world’s fastest growing sport, there’s no shortage of exciting new competitors to appear seemingly out of nowhere, especially in Asia, the birthplace of Mixed Martial Arts.
This Saturday, June 15, at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) in cooperation with One Fighting Championship (ONE FC) and Tune Talk will stage the country’s top amateur MMA tournament grand finale.
Seven title fights in different weight divisions are scheduled to take place before an adrenaline-hungry crowd. Apart from the amateur contests, One FC will stage the main event in the form of 3 super fights featuring top contenders.
In the opening contest of those super fights, Filipino MMA fighter Edward Kelly, younger brother to better known Eric “The Natural” Kelly, will go up against Tanaphong “The Lana Warrior” Khunhankaew. Kelly recently signed a multi-fight contract with One FC and this weekend, fans will finally get to see him in action, under the MIMMA promotion.
A tale of two brothers
In his first outing, Kelly was impressive in defeating Pakistani opponent Tariq Jan at Ultimate Beatdown 11: Armageddon, via technical knockout as the doctor stopped the fight.
Edward, who just like sibling Eric competes at the Featherweight limit of 145 lbs., stopped Jan within a minute. He’ll be looking to replicate his success in his second professional fight this weekend.
Both Edward and Eric began training in MMA at around the same time in 2007, but it was Eric who quickly made a name for himself in the Asian MMA scene.
While Edward stopped training in 2009 to get married and run a small business, Eric went on to become a mixed martial arts standout and became URCC champion and then recently signed to fight under the One FC banner, losing to compatriot Honorio “The Rock” Banario in his latest appearance inside the cage.
It wasn’t until the older sibling visited Manila last year to fight UFC veteran Jens “Li’l Evil” Pulver at the Araneta Coliseum did Edward Kelly resume his training.
Both Kelly’s are adept in Wushu, featuring high level kickboxing mixed with grappling. Those very Wushu skills will be put to the test against Edward’s opponent this Saturday, Khunhankaew, who himself is a seasoned Muay Thai veteran with experience in over 100 fights.
Given Kelly and Khunhankaew’s diverse stand up game, expect fireworks from both combatants in a barn burner that should end, if all goes according to plan, with a crowd-pleasing knock out.
Fan favorite, Saiful “The Vampire” Merican takes on Aditya Deshpande in the 2nd superfight of the night. In the main event, former model turned MMA fighter, Malaysia’s own Peter “The Pistol” Davis makes his return to the cage when he faces Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu maestro, Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton. - Rappler.com