Honorio Banario, Eric Kelly eager to eat well, fight better with ONE Championship's new weigh-in program
Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario banner the main undercard of ONE Championship's first event in the country this year on April 15. Jerome Ascano

IT’S unusual to see a fighter eating lechon kawali less than a month before a fight.

But Honorio Banario was hardly worried as he feasted on a few chops of the Filipino comfort food as part of his buffet lunch with the press on Thursday at a Dad’s-Saisaki-Kamayan restaurant along EDSA in Greenhills.

With ONE Championship implementing a new weigh-in program that has banned weight-cutting by dehydration as well as allowing mixed martial artists to fight at their walking weights, Banario has the luxury to enjoy a feast without compromising his preparation for his fight against Vaughn Donayre in ONE: Global Rivals on April 15.

“I’m relieved and happy na walang pressure ng cutting weight,” the 26-year-old fighter said in a short chat with SPIN.ph after the press luncheon promoting ONE’s first staging in the country this year. “Kasi ngayon, you can eat the food you want and you only focus on your training and game plan.”

“Nakukuha ko naman dati yung timbang, pero dagdag pressure pa rin kasi iniisip mo yung timbang mo,” added Banario, who has moved one weight class up from featherweight to lightweight as a result of the weigh-in system changes.

ONE made the major change following the death of Yang Jian Bing due to complications after trying to lose weight  to make the 125-pound limit for his fight against Filipino Geje Eustaquio last December.

Kelly, who is facing a tough test in Timofey Nastyukhin of Russia, also gobbled up on heavy food.

“Naparami nga eh. Inaantok na nga ako eh," Kelly said with a chuckle. 

“Masarap siya sa pakiramadam kasi hindi kas masyado nahihirapan sa preparation for the coming fight,” he added. “Maganda yung feeling.”

Still, the 33-year-old fighter has some self-imposed restrictions.

“Kailangan avoid carbs, tapos more on protein at gulay lang,” he said.

“Pero pag walang fight, kailangan pagbigyan mo rin ang sarili mo, mag-inom ng konti,” he was quick to add with a smile.”

For now, Kelly and Banario are focused on their task at hand as the Filipino fighters banner the main undercard of the event featuring Ben Askren defending his welterweight title against Nikolay Aleksakhin.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos