The Baguio City native was raised by crop farmers in their small town of Santo Tomas, but after seeing the positive effects of martial arts on his older brother, Eric “The Natural” Kelly, he decided to pursue the sport as well.
Why they call Edward Kelly "The Ferocious" one Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, January 14, 2019
During his early foray into the sport, his potential was immediately recognized by a man who would become an essential part of his life – Mark Sangiao.
“I competed in a kickboxing event in Baguio, and he was a referee there,” Kelly recalls.
“When I decided to enter college, he took me in as part of the varsity team.”
The proud Igorot enrolled in the University Of The Cordilleras, where he pursued a degree in Criminology, and also tried out for the wushu squad.
During that time, Sangiao was a respected alumnus of the university as a member of the Philippine Wushu National Team, and one of the country’s mixed martial arts pioneers. He was the man who would draw up the list of varsity athletes.
Sangiao trained with Kelly and the other members of the wushu varsity team at school, and this bond continued even after graduation.
Edward Kelly is all about "Ferocious" finishes!Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, January 12, 2019
“That’s where we started,” he explains.
“There’s not really an exclusive number, but I think there were 10 of us at first who became active fighters.”
“Before, we trained at a wushu gym in Baguio, but then we moved after we established the team [Lakay].
“From wushu, we added ground skills and other disciplines.
“I think at least once a week, we would go down to Manila with Coach Mark, Eduard Folayang, and the rest of the guys to compete in two of the first [mixed martial arts] tournaments in the Philippines, and we racked up wins over there.”
While he would enjoy success in the cage with his brothers in the team, training in martial arts was more of a passion than a profession for “The Ferocious” for a time, as he looked for other means to support his family and moved to a different province with them.
Blast from the past: Edward Kelly's "FEROCIOUS" 2016 knockout of Vincent Latoel! Jakarta | 19 January | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 2, 2019
However, after watching his brother Eric compete in ONE Championship’s inaugural event, he reignited his competitive fire and decided to dedicate his life to his passion.
Kelly returned to Baguio without his family to re-join Team Lakay, where Sangiao had chosen to hang up his gloves to focus on coaching and cultivating the emerging talents within their ranks.
Their sacrifices paid off, as Kelly racked up wins as one of the most exciting athletes in The Home Of Martial Arts with a 100 percent finishing rate in the ONE cage.
Under Sangiao’s guidance, Team Lakay has also produced five World Champions, including four who currently reign with belts around their waists.
Through his martial arts journey, Kelly admits that he has looked up to Sangiao as an older brother, and continues to draw strength from him.
How deep did Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly have that submission locked in?! Jakarta | 19 January | 5:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 9, 2019
“He’s been our inspiration since we took up the sport for the first time,” the 34-year-old said.
“He keeps us in check every time. Instilling discipline in each of us has always been his signature.
“We feel the pressure on him, because he has four World Champions he has to keep his attention on, but he’s well balanced.
“He trains those of us who have upcoming matches, then moves to keep track of the progress of the others.”
Before Pacio defends his ONE Strawweight World Title against Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in the main event, “The Ferocious” will meet Christian “The Warrior” Lee in a long-awaited rematch.
The 34-year-old knows he will face a huge challenge at the Istora Senayan, but he is backed by the support of a team that has already taken him to great heights, and is determined to push him on toward a World Title.