Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly is prepared for every possible scenario.
The Filipino will return to the cage to square off against “The Terminator” Sunoto in a featherweight showdown at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION. The event broadcasts live on Friday Night, 2 December, from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Kelly, a local fan-favorite in the country, believes the fight can potentially go any way when the cage door shuts behind him and his dangerously skilled opponent.
“I see in our fight that it will be more striking as he is a Muay Thai fighter, but I am taking into consideration that he will try to take me to the ground to fight, so I am ready for everything,” the 32-year-old says.
Sunoto, a former WKF Indonesia Champion, holds a 5-2 record and is currently riding an impressive two-win fight streak, which includes a TKO victory over Burn Soriano and a first round rear-naked choke submission over Yohan Mulia Legowo. The Jakarta native looks more and more confident with every single contest.
Then again, so does Kelly. “The Ferocious” owns a very respectable 8-3 record and, like his opponent, is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, including a come-from-behind rear-naked choke submission victory over Aussie prospect Jordan Lucas. He also scored a second-round highlight reel knockout of Dutch-Indonesian striking specialist Vincent Latoel in his most recent match at ONE: TITLES AND TITANS earlier this August.
“My favorite was the knockout of Latoel as it was the first time I knocked out my opponent in the cage,” Kelly says. “I am very excited as I came from a knockout win in my last fight. Fans can expect the same, and I will try my very best to show it as a more improved fighter.”
Kelly trains with the Baguio City-based Team Lakay, the top fight team in the country and quite arguably the hottest team in Asia right now. But the roots go much deeper than just athletes fighting and training under the same roof. Numerous members of the team share a rich heritage in wushu and heritage that binds them closer and tighter than the average MMA squad.
“It is so great to be on this team,” the featherweight says. “Aside from that, we are all rooted with the same [Igorot] tribe. We are enjoying [being with] each other very much, even in training. It feels great because every one of us is trying to be at the top, and it makes us smarter in fights.”
Led by former competitor Mark Sangiao, Team Lakay has been churning out world-class mixed martial artists. Aside from having plenty of wushu gold medalists and former Filipino MMA champions on their roster, a bunch of the squad’s members have ascended to the top of the ONE ranks.
Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang recently claimed the ONE Lightweight World Championship earlier this month, Honorio Banario won the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship three years ago, and Joshua Pacio emerged as the number one contender for the ONE Strawweight World Championship and came up just short of taking the belt in October.
“The Ferocious” speaks very highly of his coach, who has not only improved his game and skill set for in-cage competition during their time together, but also acts as a mentor and father figure to many of his students away from the gym.
“Our coach, he is great,” Kelly declares. “I know he comes from being a fighter himself, so I have full respect for him, and follow everything he says to improve my style in fighting.”
Kelly, a mountain biking and camping enthusiast, learned the art of wushu in 2004 while attending the University Of Cordilleras in Baguio City. After earning his Bachelors of Science in Criminology in 2007, he moved south to the Bataan province in search of work.
Though he had a few MMA fights in 2009, he witnessed the success his older brother Eric was experiencing in ONE, and that motivated him to pursue a career in the sport.
In 2013, he spent some time training at T-Rex Muay Thai & Mixed Martial Arts in Malaysia and took a pair of fights in the country, both of which he won. That paved the way for him to join his big brother in the big leagues of ONE and he has since enjoyed his time with the promotion.
“I’m very happy and thankful that I am in this company, because they really take care of all their fighters,” he explains. “I really feel that.”
With his big brother to look up to, the skill set and record to compete with the best, and the sudden rise of Filipino combat sports heroes, “The Ferocious” feels encouraged, and is inching closer to achieving his goal of achieving fame and success in Filipino MMA.
If he can defeat Sunoto, that goal could be well within reach.