How Edward Kelly Changed His Mentality To Claim Epic Manila Win

Filipino MMA fighter Edward Kelly punches Sung Jong Lee

Of all the amazing bouts at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR, no contest fit as much thrilling action in such a short space of time as Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly’s match with Sung Jong Lee.

The crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines was deafening as their compatriot went to battle with his Korean opponent and pulled off a dramatic TKO victory in the second round.

Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly sends Manila into a meltdown with a thrilling TKO of Sung Jong Lee at 2:51 of Round 2! 🇵🇭

Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly sends Manila into a meltdown with a thrilling TKO of Sung Jong Lee at 2:51 of Round 2! 🇵🇭Watch the full event on the ONE Super App 👉 | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, April 12, 2019

From the opening bell, the chaos instigated by these two warriors never let up as they scrambled on the ground – exchanging strikes and submission attempts.

The Filipino hero was in trouble multiple times from the NAGA No-Gi Grappling Champion’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Attack, but he survived through all that adversity and rallied to punch his way to the most hard-earned win of his career.

It was also a vital win for “The Ferocious,” who desperately needed to get his hand raised to revive his career and prove he deserves the chance to compete against the featherweight division’s best.

Now that he has had a chance to catch his breath, the 35-year-old from Baguio City broke down how he pulled off his fantastic performance.

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ONE Championship: What were the keys to your victory?

Edward Kelly: I knew that if I wanted to start winning and turn my career around, I had to change my mentality. I have to have that finisher’s mentality where I’m not looking to leave matters at the hands of the judges.

At the same time, I was never going to tap. I’m strong, and I can handle the pain. He was persistent in his attempts to capture the leg. I didn’t feel any pressure. I kept my calm and just tried to find various ways to escape.

I wasn’t going to leave that cage without the win. I’m proud of the way that I performed, and I’m happy that all the hard work in training paid off. But I still have a lot of work to do. The journey continues. This is my passion, and I am glad that I can continue to do what I love.

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ONE: What do you think you could have done better – especially with your grappling?

EK: Though I got the win, I still ask myself why he was able to take me down and why I allowed myself to be in such a dangerous situation. There are still definitely a lot of things I need to improve on.

I have to head back to the drawing board and prevent this from happening in the future. I was fortunate this time around, but I can’t keep playing with fire like that.

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ONE: What was going through your mind when the match was paused and you got a yellow card for an accidental foul?

EK: I felt weak when the referee pulled us apart and called for an injury time out. I knew that it was not a solid blow to his head and it was by accident, given that we were both on the ground.

I was really nervous because I remembered what happened to my teammate Kevin [Belingon] in Japan. That instantly came to my mind.

I was hoping Lee was okay and that we could continue with the match. When the referee gave me the yellow card, and declared that the match would continue, I was relieved.

At the same time, I knew that getting the yellow card meant more than just a deduction on my fight purse, but also that it could count somewhat against me on the judges’ scorecards. At that moment, I became more motivated to end the bout before the final bell.

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ONE: Were you surprised Lee was able to survive for that long with the number of punches you were hitting him with?

EK: I was surprised that the referee did not step in and stop the match sooner. I hit him with a lot of shots, and I was already getting very tired of throwing so many. I was on the brink of gassing out. My tank was empty.

I was super impressed with Lee’s ability to take shots and continue grappling with a clear mind. He was composed in there, and that’s probably what caught me off guard the most. He never panicked and constantly threatened with submissions.

He had the drive to continue fighting despite the damage he was taking. Hats off to him.

During the last few moments, I was shouting in frustration that the referee had not yet stopped the contest. I wanted to get the finish, and he was taking so much damage.

Nevertheless, I was prepared to fight to the end, to do whatever it took to get the win.

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