ERIC Kelly’s indomitable spirit was on full display in ONE FC: War of Dragons, scoring a come-from-behind submission victory over Rob Lisita at the National Taiwan University Sports Center on Friday night in Taipei.
His face bloodied and his vision impaired, the pride of Baguio fought on and caught his Australian opponent with a rear-naked choke and forced him to tap out midway through the second round.
That moved Kelly on the cusp of becoming the next Filipino champion in Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization, earning the former taxi driver and stuntman a title shot against featherweight champion Koji Oishi.
Kelly, thus gained his 11th victory in 12 professional fights, while halting Lisita’s winning streak at four bouts and dealt him only his second loss in nine fights.
Kelly’s early submission attempts failed to materialize, while Lisita's striking connected, eventually tagging the Filipino on the nose that left his face in a bloody mess.
The fight was temporarily stopped as doctors checked Kelly, but the only Pinoy in the 10-fight card fought on and delivered a stunning comeback to put an end to the main event with three minutes and 43 seconds in the second round, with one more to spare.
It was rousing ONE FC comeback for Kelly, who last fought in the Universal Reality Combat Championship last November.