Hailing from Baguio City, Philippines, Eric Kelly was once considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight contenders in the Asian region when he started his professional mixed martial arts run. But after his fifth ONE Championship won, he lost to four others consecutively.
“I am taking it as a lesson,” Kelly stated. “I have accepted the fact that I am in a bad spot, but I am taking all those experiences as lessons and inspecting them for my future matches.”
In ONE Championship, Kelly defeated Mitch Chilson, Bae Yong Kwon, Jens Pulver, Rob Lisita and Hiroshige Tanaka. On the other hand, Kelly lost to Honorio Banario, Ev Ting, Naratungalag Jadambaa, Koketsu Boku and Rafael Nunes.
On May 12, 2018, Kelly will fight in ONE Championship for the 11th time. He will face Tetsuya Yamada of Japan in the catchweight division at “ONE: Grit and Glory” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“It’s a good match-up for me,” Kelly commented. “My opponent is no pushover because Yamada has a good ground game and a decent stand-up.”
Standing in Kelly’s path to reenter the winner’s circle, Yamada is a promising young martial artist with a distinct ability to seek out highlight-reel stoppages. The Japanese fighter made his ONE Championship debut on January 29, 2016 in an extremely high-level wrestling showdown against future lightweight kingpin Eduard Folayang of Baguio City, Philippines at “ONE: Clash of Heroes.”
Over half of Yamada’s 24 career victories have come by spectacular finish, with the ability to end bouts either by submission or knockout. Like Kelly, Yamada also seeks to get back on the winning track, following his third-round submission loss to Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Dagestan, Russia at “ONE: Iron Will” on March 24, 2018.
“ONE: Grit and Glory” will mark Yamada’s fourth ONE Championship bout. Meanwhile, watch the bout between Kelly and Nunes at “ONE: Global Superheroes” here: