On Saturday, 15 June the 23-year-old battled his way through three rounds against the Filipino veteran to score a unanimous decision win in front of his fans inside the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.
Hometown hero Niu Kang Kang picks up a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Filipino warrior Eric Kelly!: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 15 June 2019
Niu made a statement as soon as the opening round got underway as he landed a high left kick. Aware of his opponent’s knockout power, Kelly took the contest to the ground after barely a minute had passed.
His success did not last long as the Chinese martial arts prospect transitioned brilliantly to get hold of Kelly’s back and begin his hunt for submissions. When “The Natural” got back to his feet, he was put under threat again by a guillotine choke at the start of another sustained ground attack.
Round two began with Niu charging forward with a spinning back fist, but his 37-year-old adversary evaded with ease. Once again, Kelly took the match to the ground to stay clear of his opponent’s power, but he gave up his back again to concede his advantage.
The Dragon Warrior Gym representative quickly found an opening to go for a rear-naked choke, but Kelly refused to give up his chin and continued to frustrate the Chinese athlete until the end of the second round.
Kelly was on the back foot for most of the first two rounds, and knew he had to do something special to secure the win with five minutes remaining. He started the final stanza with a bang when he landed a couple of kicks before he secured half guard in the center of the ring.
However, Niu brilliantly worked his way through another escape and turned the tables on the ground to make his way to side control, where he landed punches and elbows. He finished the encounter with back control to secure the win.
After 15 minutes of action, all three judges scored the contest in favor of Niu, who improved his overall record to 7-1.
“I feel very good. It shows that I didn’t waste all my hard work, so thanks to everyone,” the 23-year-old said.
The win was his second successive victory in The Home Of Martial Arts after an impressive 31-second debut knockout win against Indonesia’s “The Terminator” Sunoto.