Currently in the midst of a three-bout win streak, and with team morale that is running at an all-time high, Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly (9-3) returns to action against Emilio “The Honeybadger” Urrutia (9-4) at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS on 18 August.
The event takes place at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and plays host to an exciting bill that features world-class talent from top to bottom. This preliminary matchup could be the dark horse as the evening’s most intriguing battle, given how well-matched and motivated the two athletes are.
Kelly is already anticipating a thrilling encounter.
“I know is he is a well-rounded athlete,” the 33-year-old Filipino explains. “I checked his professional record and we are the same, so I think this is a good match, and will be exciting to watch.”
He was disappointed that a proposed bout in April fell through due to injury, and is now counting down the days until he can step inside the ONE Championship cage again.
After all, the warriors of Team Lakay have been on a tear at recent events. The title-winning effort and subsequent defense by ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang was a huge catalyst to spur on the team’s many contenders, including Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who have placed themselves firmly in contention with huge victories.
“For now, we are motivated to train hard for our matches, as we think we can compete for titles, too,” Kelly reveals about the current atmosphere in the gym. “Once Eduard (Folayang) got the belt, we all thought that we could do it too. We just need to focus more on training, and follow in his footsteps.”
With Belingon scheduled to collide with Australia’s Reece McLaren on the same card, it has been a blessing for both Filipino competitors, who have benefited from having a teammate by their side every step of the way.
Even when training gets tough and the rounds start to wear him down, Kelly can look over his shoulder, and be motivated by Belingon’s shared dedication, sweat, and tears in pursuit of victory. “The Ferocious” cannot sing the praises of his comrade highly enough, as both continue their charge to the top.
“It is a good thing, and good timing, because me and Kevin (Belingon) are training together, so I have company every time we train, to focus and develop our techniques,” he states.
“I once stopped training for four years, and in that four years, he continued. Kevin continued to improve and I got left behind,” he adds, referring to the time he took a break from competition in 2009. “So I admit that his knowledge in martial arts is ahead of mine, and that is good for me. I can ask him about techniques and what to do, and ask him about certain positions.”
The humble Filipino is quick to credit those around him, but his own form and skill set cannot be overlooked. He has three wins in a row, all coming in what was a perfect 2016 for his competitive career. Each victory was by stoppage, and he has repeatedly shown just how dangerous he is inside the cage.
Although he does not want to let any thoughts overshadow his focus on Urrutia, he has allowed his goals to grow, with the team’s reigning world champion keeping him motivated.
“I returned to be a martial artist in 2013, and I just wanted that feeling again, and to be on a big show on television,” Kelly offers on his initial reasons for returning, following his hiatus.
“Now, I am improving in my matches, and I have a three-bout win streak. I think if ONE gave me a chance to challenge for the belt, I will train hard for it. That is my goal before retiring. In my mind, I think I can achieve that belt soon.”
To stay on track, an electrifying performance is a must. But Kelly reins himself back in, preferring to let his actions at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS do the talking.
“I think every martial artist wants to finish their bout in the first round, but we do not know,” he says. “Emilio (Urrutia) is training hard for our match. We can only see what will happen on 18 August.”