Eric Kelly, 35, and Edward Kelly, 33, lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.
Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.
“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest. “But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”
Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.
Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.
“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”
Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.
Eric is now widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines. A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, he owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.
Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the US$50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.
Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.
With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.
In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.
The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on 26 January as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.
Asia’s premier martial arts promotion spearheads ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES at the 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.
It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.
“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.
“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special,” Edward added.
As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.
In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit, at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES.
“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout. And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”
Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.
“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish. A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back,” he ended.