This Saturday, 16 November, the Team Lakay veteran will face Tang Kai in a featherweight match in Beijing, China, that has all the ingredients to be an explosive encounter.
The man from Shanghai burst into the ONE Championship featherweight division earlier this year with one of the most spectacular knockouts of 2019, and though Kelly was impressed by that, he is not too worried.
“We watched his previous bouts and all I can say is that he really has power, he’s a heavy hitter, but I believe that I can use that to my advantage,” he says.
“I also worked on my takedown defense and ground [game], but I still expect this to be a striking battle. Let’s just see who executes their game plan to perfection.”
The 35-year-old’s fans will understand why he is unfazed because of the collection of jaw-dropping striking performances he has delivered on the global stage.
“The Ferocious” has never been afraid to stand toe-to-toe with any man, and he has often come away with a highlight-reel finish. In fact, only four men can claim more stoppage wins in his division.
He is also unmatched for experience in the weight class. This will be his 14th outing as a ONE featherweight, and having seen so many different styles in the Circle, he is confident he can adapt to whatever his rival brings to the table.
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“I have fought the best and the strongest strikers in the featherweight division, so facing another strong opponent is not a problem for me,” Kelly said.
“I believe that my experience will be a huge factor in our match in Beijing.”
With that said, the man from Baguio City is not taking this challenge lightly.
The 23-year-old from Dragon Warrior Shanghai has claimed all nine of his professional wins by knockout, so he knows he needs to have a solid strategy to stay in this contest and bring his most dangerous weapons into play.
Under the guidance of head coach Mark Sangiao, that is all taken care of, so he is comfortable in the knowledge that all he needs to do is execute what he has practiced under the lights.
If he does that, he will be well-placed continue his teammates’ success from ONE: MASTERS OF FATE last Friday, and end his year on a high.
“I am more relaxed in training, and the focus now is studying the game plan and staying in shape so I’m ready for this match,” Kelly said.
“I really want to maximize this opportunity. I know that Tang Kai is strong and determined, but I am confident that I will get the win in this match.”
Beijing | 16 November | AGE OF DRAGONS | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast