Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly (10-4) is ascending up ONE Championship’s featherweight ranks, but in order for him to reach the next level, he must defeat his martial arts hero.
The event takes place at the Studio City Event Center in Macau, and a victory against the Mongolian veteran could elevate Kelly into world title contention.
“I am at a great spot in my career, and I am extremely excited to be facing Jadambaa. I cannot wait to test my skills against a former World Champion and a respected veteran in mixed martial arts,” the 34-year-old says.
“To be honest, Jadambaa is one of the very few peers that I look up to in ONE Championship. He is my idol. He is incredibly tough and durable. But most importantly, he has a big heart. It is an honor for me to compete against him.”
Jadambaa, a grappler known for his immense one-punch knockout power, will return to action for the first time since losing to form ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov – the man who taken the belt from him – in their November 2016 rematch.
Since then, the Mongolian has been on the sidelines, but has remained active at the gym – working to add new dimensions to his mixed martial arts arsenal.
At 42 years old, it may appear like he is at the tail end of his glorious career, but the veteran claims he feels “10 years younger” than his actual age, and is motivated to make another run at the gold.
That is just one of the reasons why Kelly is not taking the former world champion lightly. He heavily respects his adversary’s talent, and believes they are evenly matched – for the most part.
“I think Jadambaa is a tremendous striker,” he says.
“Although he does have good, solid grappling skills, I still believe his greatest strength is his striking. I am a striker too, so this bout has excitement written all over it. It will all come down to who can impose his will more.
“The only advantage I would have probably is age. I am a little younger than he is, and he has been in more cage wars, so the mileage is there. But in this particular fight, I do not think it will matter. I am expecting an honest, explosive contest between two talented strikers.”
It is no surprise “The Ferocious” is confident about his stand-up ability after some impressive performances in his previous bouts.
Most recently, in January, Kelly knocked out Cambodia’s Meas Meul in 21 seconds to set the record for the fastest finish in ONE featherweight history.
However, he knows that will count for little if he cannot build on it. For the Team Lakay product, this forthcoming bout with Jadambaa represents a critical point in his career.
If he can power through this monumental task, and do so in highlight-reel fashion, it would undoubtedly catapult him to the top of the division, and towards a rematch with reigning two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the featherweight world title.
“I always want to give the fans a good show, so it is important to me to not just win, but win with excitement,” Kelly explains.
“Being that he is the former featherweight world champion, this bout is very significant. I know if I can beat Jadambaa, it will bring me one huge step closer to getting that title shot.”
Macau | 23 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast