HE may not be the most popular Filipino mixed martial artist in the fight card, but Eric Kelly is expected to give an all-out effort when he sees action in the One Fighting Championships in front of his countrymen at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.
With the spotlight mostly on top Filipino MMA fighter Eduard Folayang, the 30-year-old Kelly is expected to take a backseat but that won’t stop him from making the pro-Filipino crowd proud when he collides with American Jens Pulver in a featherweight match.
“Gusto ko patunayan na ang mga Pinoy fighters ay malalakas at kailangang respetuhin sa buong mundo,” said the hard-hitting Kelly, who showcased his striking and takedown skills during the open workout session at the Balance Gym inside Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center on Wednesday afternoon.
An Igorot from Baguio who claims to have American lineage from his ancestors, Kelly is the reigning Universal Reality Combat Championship featherweight titlist and is undefeated in seven fights.
The 5-foot-7 Kelly, however, admitted he will be facing the toughest challenge of his career in the 37-year-old Pulver, the first UFC lightweight champion, who defended his title twice, the second against B.J. Penn.
“May pressure rin kasi legend yung kalaban ko pero happy ako na nabigyan ako ng chance makalaban siya.”
Nevertheless, Kelly remains unfazed by his veteran opponent.
“Confident ako at gagawin ko best ko. Makikita nila ang exciting fight ko,” said Kelly, who is adept at yaw yan kickboxing and jiu jitsu.