Eric Kelly Returns On November 30 At URCC 24 “Uprising”

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After being out for 8 months, Eric “The Natural” Kelly, is hundred percent ready and healthy to return inside the URCC ring on November 30, 2013, at URCC 24 “Uprising” as he takes on a yet to be named undefeated Chinese fighter who according to some sources, has a 6-0 record.

The news was confirmed by Eric Kelly’s manager, Chef Ro.

Chef also told us that Kelly will fly to Macau to train for his up coming fight

Kelly has long been considered as the first homegrown Filipino fighter to be signed by the UFC. But all the high hopes for Kelly were smashed when Honorio “The Rock” Banario stopped him in the 4th round of their world champioship fight at ONE FC 7 – Return of Warriors.

“The biggest mistake I made in my career was when I accepted to fight him (Banario) even though my eye injury is not completely healed”, said Kelly in a conversation with MMA Orient staff, Zike.

Now that his injury is all healed up, Kelly is pumped to redeem himself from his last fight when takes on an undefeated Chinese fighter as a main event bout of URCC 24 “Uprising”.

URCC 24 is set to go down on November 30, 2013, at the SMX Convention Center.

A heavyweight contest has been confirmed by URCC as Igor Subora, the current heavyweight champion, will defend his title for the first time against a former champion and a two-time SEA Games Wrestling Gold Medalist, Marcus Valda. This heavyweight contest is going to be interesting. A very accomplished grappler takes on a mammoth Ukranian fighter, who is on a roll.

Also, a rumored bantamweight championship match is said to take place as Team Lakay’s Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera will make his first title defense versus Submission Sport Philippines’ Reysaldo “Onyok” Transmonte.

*Update – Reliable sources confirmed that the Galera vs. Transmonte bout is off.

URCC 24 will also showcase the return of the former URCC featherweight king, Ali Khatibi. The DEFTAC standout aims to impress URCC fans after four years of not fighting inside the ring. Though his opponent is yet to be determined, Khatibi is preparing very well for his comeback fight and looks to reclaim his URCC title soon.

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One FC Featherweight Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario Is Ready To Fight Whoever Matchmakers Want Him To

Honorio Banario captures the One FC featherweight belt in Feb. 2nd against Eric Kelly - Photo by Sev B Jr. for MMA Orient

Honorio Banario captures the One FC featherweight belt in Feb. 2nd against Eric Kelly – Photo by Sev B Jr. for MMA Orient

Honorio Banario became the first ever Filipino to win a world title in MMA when he stopped Eric Kelly in the fourth round of their fight at ONE FC: ‘Return of Warriors’ in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

The 23 year old from Benguet graduated from the Cordillera Career Development College with a BS in Criminology but instead of chasing down villains in the streets of Baguio he has opted to stand his ground against opponents as a full time MMA fighter.
A crowd of 11,000 people were on hand to witness Banario’s last win which will be shown in the Philippines on Star Sports but the newly crowned ONE FC Featherweight Champion warns any prospective mixed martial artists that fighting professionally is far from an easy career option, “For aspiring fighters you need to have focus in training, have discipline in yourself. You need motivation and discipline otherwise you will never become a successful fighter in the future.”

With a professional MMA record of 8-1 Banario is already at the pinnacle of the sport but the journey to becoming a world champion is a long one which began in 2010 with the URCC. A year after making his debut he became URCC lightweight champion and went on to win six fights out of six for the Filipino promotion.
When Banario finally got the chance to fight for a world title his opponent turned out to be none other than Kelly, a URCC featherweight champion who he had trained alongside and sparred with at the Team Lakay Gym in Baguio.

With a record of 9-0 and a recent win over former UFC champion Jens Pulver the majority of fans expected Kelly to have too much experience for his former training partner and Banario enjoyed upsetting the odds, “It’s an honour for me to represent the Philippines and be the first Filipino to win a world championship belt in MMA. The underdog will always win if he has the heart and mind and focus on the fight.”

Banario is a member of Team Lakay in Baguio which was founded by fellow criminology graduate Mark Sangiao. He trains alongside URCC champions and ONE FC title contenders Kevin Belingon, Rey Docyogen and Eduard Folayang and says he spent two months preparing for his last fight.

He finished the fight with a left hook which appeared to damage his opponent’s eye but rejected suggestions that the decisive strike might have been an illegal poke rather than a legitimate punch, “It was punch with my fist, definitely not a poke. He always punches me with his right arm so I just covered it and punched with my left. When I spar Eric before I always caught him with the striking so I trained very hard to make my striking powerful and solid for this fight.”

Banario’s first title defence will take place on home soil with ONE FC set to return to Manila in the next couple of months. He says he has no preference over who the opponent will be and is ready to fight whoever matchmakers want him to.

After winning a world championship with the biggest MMA organization in Asia even the most dedicated of fighters would normally enjoy a few drinks but Banario has no party planned and plans to mark the occasion by eating his favourite dish with a few close friends,

“I don’t know what I will do to celebrate, maybe when we go home we will have some Pinikpikan!”

My MMA Weekend in Kuala Lumpur. One FC Return of Warriors.

Feature Story. SevBJr a.k.a. Zilvidu, chief photographer  for mmaorient.net shares with us his Photos at One FC 7 and his thoughts about his MMA weekend experience in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On the weekend of February 2, three Pinoy athletes top billed a big sporting event held at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Honorio Banario, Eric Kelly and Rey Docyogen fought in the MMA event promoted by the most prestigious organization in Asia, the One Fighting Championship. From my base here in Singapore I traveled to Kuala Lumpur over the weekend and  had the privilege to shoot at cage-side. It was an amazing first time experience for me to go to a foreign country, meet our Pinoy athletes as well as other incredible fighters from other nations, and personalities in the Asian MMA scene.

I attended the event,  mainly for the photo coverage for mmaorient.net, my blog ritratozilvidu.com and pinoystaronline.com. Being able to witness the weigh-in drama before the actual event night, witnessed some of the interview sessions,  shoot behind-the-scene photos, and had brief chat with some of the amazing athletes that were in the event – were all part of an extraordinary weekend that I’ve been waiting for, two months prior.

Me and my sister, who also traveled with me to KL to watch the event, arrived at KL airport in the morning of February 1, a day before the actual fight night. From the airport we took  the Skybus to KL Sentral, and from there we took a taxi ride to Mines Wellness Hotel and arrived just in time to catch the weigh-ins of the fighters in the main card.

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At the weigh-ins, the two Pinoy fighters who fought in the main event Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario both weighed over the 145lbs (66kgs) upper limit for Featherweight competitors and had to shed those extra pounds on weigh-in day itself.  They had to go through rapid weight reduction technique (i.e. dehydration) in-order to make weight.

Rehydration time for Eric Kelly

Rehydration time for Eric Kelly

After sitting in the sauna for a few hours or so, and after a couple of re-weigh-ins, both fighters finally made weight on the day before they stepped into the cage. The weigh-ins itself has its fair share of drama.

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The following day, February 2nd, I was very excited at fight night that instead of taking the free shuttle ride packaged by one of One FC’s event partners, I hailed a taxi from my hotel to Putra Stadium. I arrived at the stadium about an hour and a half before the first match took place. There were already a lot of early birds lining up at the entrance waiting for the gates to open, while others were very busy buying MMA merchandise or promo items from the sponsors’ booths outside the venue.

A Marriage proposal inside the ONE FC Cage

A Marriage proposal inside the ONE FC Cage

I went inside the Stadium before the organizers opened the gates to the Public. When the gates opened, fans who were able to come in early saw a wedding proposal happen right inside the One FC Cage!

The Show started at 7:00PM all fighters came out from the locker room one-by-one, in a very exciting introduction that is complete with pyrotechnics and confetti. It was immediately followed by the first match which started at about 7:15pm.

I honestly believe that all the matches were exciting, but would like to highlight three from the main-card.

Lowens Tynanes defeated Vuyisile Colossa via Submission
Lowen Tynanes the Hawaiian who has 1/4 of Filipino blood running through his veins, won against a very good striker in South African Vuyisile Colossa. Tynanes’ face was covered with blood after getting hit hard by Vuyisile’s elbow strikes from the bottom. Tynanes was successful with his takedown attempts, and I think it was obvious that he worked on his ground game, as he attempted submission moves each time the fight went to the ground. In the stand-up game however, the advantage goes to the South-African kickboxer who connected on some kicks, elbows and punches. Somehow, Tynanes grinded a win by constantly going back to his wrestling strength, and again on the 3rd round he was able to takedown Colossa. He then showed his MMA skills by winning via rear naked choke. This is my pick for the “Fight-of-the-Night” award.

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Shinichi “BJ” Kojima defeated Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen via Submission
The co-main event of the evening was an exciting match and one that I was looking forward to seeing eversince it was officially announced by One FC.  The match between undefeated Filipino and URCC (Universal Reality Combat Championship, Filipino MMA Organization) flyweight champion Rey Docyogen against MMA veteran and former SHOOTO (Japanese MMA organization) champion Shinichi “BJ” Kojima. It was a match that would determine the contender for the One FC Flyweight Belt.

The Filipino was winning the stand-up battle for the most part of the fight, and was able to tag the Japanese with good punches and kicks. Rey Docyogen capitalized on his strength in the striking department, and was doing well in the first and a half part of the fight.  With only a few seconds left in the 2nd round however, the veteran savvy of Shinichi Kojima won the fight for him as he finished the fight via grappling technique, he pulled off a guillotine choke from the clinch and pulled guard to win via submission. It was the first loss in the Pinoy fighter’s MMA career.

For me as a Pinoy MMA fan, it should prove to be a very good learning experience for Docyogen, fighting BJ Kojima who is regarded as arguably, one of the top flyweight prospects in the world. Rey gave his opponent all he could handle before eventually losing the fight. In fact, on the day after the fight, I bumped into BJ Kojima at the Kuala Lumpur airport. I congratulated him for his win and I noticed his left eye was still swelling from the strikes he received from Docyogen.

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Honorio Banario defeated Eric Kelly via TKO
In the main event of the evening, the All-Filipino battle between two warriors Eric Kelly and Honorio Banario started as a feeling out process in the first round. Both fighters gauged each other early and paced themselves for their Five, 5-minute round fight. In my “unofficial score-card” I had my compatriot from Mankayan, Benguet, Honorio Banario winning the first 3 rounds. As they went back and forth in the striking battle, Kelly’s highlights strikes were a solid overhand right that connected, a few front kicks and liver kicks. As for Honorio, he dictated the pace, and was the first to initiate the action for the most part. He connected with leg kicks and scored on a takedown and ground and pound as he briefly mounted Kelly’s back. The fight ended in the Fourth round when Honorio landed a big left hook that immediately opened up a cut on Eric Kelly’s right eye. Kelly was staggered and slowly went down to the mat with both eyes closed , his hand signalling a stop. Referee Yuji Shimada stepped in to stop the fight and award the inaugural One  Fighting Championship Featherweight belt to Team Lakay’s Honorio “The Rock” Banario.IMG_7834

All-in-all, I am glad that I made this trip to Kuala Lumpur. I am very proud of the performances of my compatriots from the Philippines. They performed well in front of a foreign audience. Read their stories, heard about their personal struggles, the sacrifices they had to make in order to get to this point in their careers and being recognized as the regions best. I have nothing but RESPECT to to these fighters. I respect all fighters regardless of their nationality. I’m pretty sure that each one of them have their own inspiring stories to tell, interesting stories that go beyond their tough guy, warrior image and celebrity status.

As for our Pinoy Fighters, I believe that they’re making a case for more recognition from our kababayan in the Philippines and abroad. These fighters are always proud to raise our flag, no matter where they go and no matter what the odds are. As I was shooting photos at cageside, I felt a sense of pride each time I heard some random cheers from Filipinos in the crowd, cheering for Rey, Honorio and Eric.

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To the newly crowned Featherweight Champion Honorio Banario, had he not pushed himself to his mental and physical limits in order to make weight, there shouldn’t have been a title fight and nobody would be celebrating a Filipino crowned champion in One FC today. As for Eric Kelly, his stories can be found in almost every Asian MMA publication, and followers of Asian MMA now know he has sacrificed a lot to come this close to becoming a world Champion. He has found a “second home” and have very supportive training partners, gym mates and students at Muayfit gym in Malaysia which means he has everything he needs to come back strong and make another run for the title. There is no shame in gettting the first career loss to a worthy opponent. As cliche as it may sound,  character is not measured by how one handles success, but instead, it is measured by how one handles failure. Honorio is a case in point, he has tasted defeat in the past, and look where he is right now.

The same is true for Rey Docyogen, there is no shame in losing to a world class athlete like BJ Kojima.  Everytime a fighter from Japan is in the cage, it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll be seeing great action. I enjoyed this fight between Rey and BJ, both are awesome fighters. I am particularly proud that Docyogen showed he can hang and bang with one of the world’s best flyweights, I hope to see him come back stronger and learn from this set-back.

The best thing to remember now is that, winning isn’t always a victory, and losing isn’t always a defeat. While I am proud of our new champion Honorio Banario, I am still very proud and still believe in Rey Docyogen and Eric Kelly. MABUHAY!

Other Fight Results at One FC Return of Warriors:
Adam Shahir Kayoom def. Zuli Silawanto via Submission (RNC)
Peter Davis def. Leo Krishna via Doctor’s Stoppage
Thanh Vu def. Mohd Fouzein via TKO (Strikes)
Melvin Yeoh def. Raymond Tiew via Submission (triangle choke)
Jian Kai Chee def. Aj Pyro via Unanimous Decision
Jake Butler def. Antoni Romulo via TKO (Strikes)
Gianni Subba def. Saiful Merican via Submission (Armbar)

One FC 7 Results: Banario Is The First-Ever One FC Featherweight Champion, Kojima Submits Docyogen

Newly crowned One FC Featherweight Champion,  Honorio "The Rock" Banario - Photo by ONEFC.COM

Newly crowned One FC Featherweight Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario – Photo by ONEFC.COM

ONE FC 7 – Return of Warriors

February 2, 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One FC 7 was full of finishes as only one fight out of ten went to a decision.

Jake Butler lived up to the hype when the NCAA Division 1 Wrestler outclassed his Indonesian foe, finishing him via TKO in the first round.

20-year-old Gianni Subba displayed his ground game as he submitted a fighter who has a very dangerous striking game in the second round via armbar.

Jian Kai Chee will move on to the Malaysian Featherweight Tourney when he defeated Aj Pyro via Unanimous Decision. Kai Chee’s next opponent for the Malaysian Featherweight Championship would be the teacher by day and fighter by night, Melvin Yeoh, who submitted Raymond Tiew in the second round via triangle choke.

Vietnamese fighter, Thanh Vu def. Mohd Fouzein by way of 1st round TKO and advances to the One FC Bantamweight Tourney.

A lot of women went crazy tonight as Fighter/Model/Actor, Peter Davis destroyed Leo Krishna via Doctor’s Stoppage in round 1 due to a nasty cut on Krishna’s lip.

Leo Krishna's Lip

Leo Krishna’s Lip

If there is another word for excellence, that would be Adam Shahir Kayoom. Adam showcased his grappling prowess against his Indonesian foe, Zuli Siliwanto, making the Indonesian tap in the very first round via one of his favorite submissions, rear-naked-choke.

Speaking of rear-naked-choke, Lowen Tynanes versus Vuyisile Colossa is one of the best fights I’ve seen so far for this year 2013. Both guys are entertaining and very athletic. Colossa’s picking Tynanes apart in the striking department, but the powerful wrestler, Tynanes proved that he is for real and he is a threat to anybody in the lightweight division by submitting Colossa in the third via rear-naked-choke. I want to see Tynanes fight Zoro Moreira in Singapore. I hope that fight happens because I’m sure, that fight is going to be a barn burner.

Flyweights once again, shown us that they are one of the fastest athletes in the fight business. Docyogen and Kojima faced each other inside the One FC cage for flyweight contender fight. Both guys didn’t disappoint as they  showed that they are two of the elite flyweights in Asia today. But despite of tremendous pace and effort shown by Docyogen, the much bigger Kojima found his way to defeat the Filipino fighter by way of guillotine choke in the second round. Kojima is now guaranteed a spot at the vacant One FC flyweight title.

In the main even of the evening, two world-class MMA fighters beat the heck out of each other as two Filipino warriors, Team Lakay’s Honorio “The Rock” Banario and Eric “The Natural” Kelly went toe-to-toe with one goal in  mind; to become the first-ever One FC world featherweight champion.

Both fighters came out very technical in the first round, but Banario landed more lead leg kicks and boxing combos against Kelly. In the second round, Banario’s pace stayed the same, throwing combinations after another, confusing Kelly on the feet. There were moments where Kelly tried to take Banario down, but the Team Lakay fighter is too strong for Kelly. In the third round, Kelly’s speed and footwork has gone as he back pedals to everything Banario throws. Although seemed to be a little bit tired, Kelly’s power still remains as he connects an over right hand to Banario that made the Team Lakay fighter hesitate to attack for just a moment.

In the fourth round, it was all Banario. Kelly seemed very tired but his kicks and punches are still dangerous for his foe. Banario kept on pushing forward, showcasing his boxing skills and side kicks to Kelly’s left knee and stomach, until he unleashed a crafty left hook that connects to Kelly’s right eye. Kelly felt the pain of that punch and he got hurt at that point, making the referee to decide to stop the fight and give Banario the 4th round TKO win.

It was a very historic moment not only for Banario but to Filipino MMA as the URCC lightweight champion became the first-ever One FC Featherweight World Champion.

Honorio Banario def. Eric Kelly via 4th rd. TKO (punches)

Kojima def. Docyogen via 2nd rd. Submission (Guillotine Choke)

Lowen Tynanes def. Vuyisile Colossa via 3rd rd. Submission (RNC)

Adam Shahir Kayoom def. Zuli Silawanto via 1st rd. Submission (RNC)

Peter Davis def. Leo Krishna via Doctor’s Stoppage, Rd. 1

Thanh Vu def. Mohd Fouzein via 1st rd. TKO (punches)

Melvin Yeoh def. Raymond Tiew via 2nd rd. Submission (triangle choke)

Jian Kai Chee def. Aj Pyro via Unanimous Decision

Gianni Subba def. Saiful Merican via 2nd rd. Submission (armbar)

Jake Butler def. Antoni Romulo via 1st rd. TKO (punches)

Eric Kelly’s Younger Brother, Edward Kelly, Signs With One FC

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Edward Kelly with his One FC contract. Photo by: Ritrato Zilvidu for MMAOrient.net

 

Edward Kelly has signed with One FC this morning. I know some of you doesn’t know much about this kid, but from what we’ve heard so far, is that Edward is a scary striker and a very strong individual just like his older brother Eric “The Natural” Kelly.

Although his One FC debut is yet to be determined, a lot of Asian MMA fans, especially his brother’s fans are excited to see him fight inside the One FC cage soon.

Who is Honorio “The Rock” Banario?

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On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Honorio “The Rock” Banario (7-1) will try to become the first-ever One FC featherweight champion against a fellow gifted Filipino fighter, Erick “The Natural” Kelly (9-0) at the highly-anticipated One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’ in Malaysia.

Banario trains at Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines alongside Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Kevin “Silencer” Belingon, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen, and some of the most talented MMA fighters in the Philippines under the tutelage of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.

The 23-year-old Banario has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and just like most of his teammates; he has never been involved in a street fight. He has two younger brothers who are also making their names in the fight business – Dario Banario, who has a 2-0 record as a pro is set to fight Joseph Mercado on February 16th at PXC 35. Their youngest brother, Harold Banario, also holds a 2-0 pro MMA record and expected to make his appearance in one of the biggest MMA promotions in the Philippines in the near future.

“The Rock”, before transitioning to MMA, is a well-accomplished Wushu Sanshou fighter. He has some local and national Wushu titles that made him as one of the most admired Sanshou fighters in the Philippines.

Banario made his pro MMA debut at URCC Baguio 2 ‘Tribal Wars’ on February of 2010 against a fellow striker in Romel Del-is. Banario made a quick work of Del-is as he submitted the much experienced fighter in just 2 minutes of the first round. Since then, Banario went on a tear winning five straight fights via impressive wins, including his RNC win over a well-respected fighter, Angelito “The Saint” Manguray, at URCC 19 where he became the youngest URCC lightweight champion at the age of 22.

banario vs manguray

In February of 2011, a year after he made his first-ever pro MMA fight, Banario made his first fight outside the Philippines against a very adept fighter in Bae Young Kwon. At the time, Kwon was considered as the no. 2 featherweight fighter in whole of South Korea, next to UFC featherweight fighter, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. It was Banario’s first fight as a featherweight and he accepted the fight on a short notice when Kwon’s original opponent, Eric Kelly, was not able to fight due to personal issues. He said that he made the cut from 155 lbs. to 145 lbs. in just a couple of weeks before fight night.

banario vs kwon

Banario admitted that he got very confident during the fight because he knew that he can beat Kwon in the striking department. But the tricky South Korean wasted no time and took the fight to the ground and showcased his grappling prowess against the Filipino Banario. Kwon defeated Banario in just 56 seconds of the first round via RNC.

It was a tough loss for Banario, but the most important thing is that he learned from it and doubled his time trying to improve his overall game as a mixed martial artist.

After 6 months since his loss to Kwon, Banario faced Andrew Benibe at One FC 5 ‘Pride of a Nation’ in the Philippines. We saw a much-improved game of Banario as he demolished Benibe from the first round until the 3:47 mark of the third round, where Benibe fell to the canvas after he absorbed a kick to the body which gave Banario the opportunity to finish the fight via TKO.

banario vs benibe

On Saturday, February 2, in Malaysia, Banario is facing a tough competition as he will try to beat a fellow talented fighter in Eric Kelly, who has been recognized by many as the best featherweight prospect in Asia.

It is indeed a tough task to beat the man who has previously defeated the former UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver. But Banario, as always, doesn’t pay attention to his opponent’s record; all he cares about is to beat him and become the One FC featherweight champion.

I think power-wise, Banario is has a lead over Kelly, but in the grappling department, there is no doubt that “The Natural” has the advantage against him.

I cannot wait to see these two warriors scrap. I’m predicting a very technical fight between Banario and Kelly because they very much know each other’s game as they trained and sparred together a couple of times in the past.

One FC 7 ‘Return of Warriors’ will also feature a flyweight contender match between Banario’s team mate, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen and Shinichi “BJ” Kojima.

Eric Kelly: “ONE FC Is The Biggest MMA Organization In Asia And I Want To Fight The Best And Show I am The Best In Asia.”

eric kelly

As a fighter, no one has a harsher critic than the one that resides in the individual mirror they gaze upon daily. From their most exciting wins to their most crushing losses, fighters and other athletes alike maintain a criticism that is rarely matched by anyone else in their camp. That said, the better athlete is the one that re-sharpens his respective tools to go back and fight another battle. This what makes a person not just a fighter, but a warrior. This is what makes up Eric Kelly.

As one of Asian MMA’s most recognizable personalities, Kelly is an undefeated featherweight fighter from the Philippines who has an amazing pro MMA record of 9-0 (1 TKO, 7 submissions and 1 decision).

This featherweight monster from the Philippines has shown tremendous heart and talent when he defeated a respected fighter in Brad Terrey last December 1st at URCC 22 – DEKADA.

Both Kelly and Terrey gave their best that night but the Filipino fighter proved that he is one of the best fighters in Asia by submitting the American in the 3rd round.

“The Natural’s” next goal is to win the first-ever ONE FC featherweight championship on February 2 in Malaysia against a familiar opponent in Honorio “The Rock” Banario.

MMA Orient: How excited are you to be fighting for the ONE FC World Title?

Kelly:
MMA is my passion and winning the title is my dream. This will be the biggest fight for me because every fighter wants to be a champion and I am URCC champion but ONE FC is the biggest MMA organization in Asia and I want to fight the best and show I am the best in Asia.

MMA Orient: How do you feel about fighting against your fellow Filipino in Honorio Banario?

Kelly:
I prefer to fight a foreigner because I am proud Pinoy and I want to show that fighters from the Philippines are strong and have very good skills but to win the ONE FC belt is a dream for me and I am ready to fight anyone, even my fellow Pinoy. It was a big surprise for me when they told me I would fight with Honorio because we have known each other for many years but I want to test my skills against the best fighters and if the best fighters also are from Baguio then I must fight them if I want to be champion.

MMA Orient: Is it true that you two have trained together in the past?

Kelly:
Yes, before my fight with Mitch Chilson when I was in Baguio I would go to Team Lakay to train sometimes and Honorio was one of my sparring partners so we have sparred together many times. Always in the gym it was a war and we would both have a lot of bruises after even though we wear big gloves and shin pads and the head protection so the fight will be like this. I like to fight with other Wushu fighters because I know they will not be scared to make a striking battle.

MMA Orient: Your win over Jens Pulver was your first ever TKO, and you have seven submission wins. Do you always look to try and finish fights with submissions?

Kelly:
I do not mind if it is submission or knock out but I do not want to go to decision. I have done boxing and Wushu a lot before I started MMA and I like striking but if I have an opportunity for a submission I can do that too. I don’t know why I win by submission so many times, in the future I hope to win more fights by KO but if I can win by submission that is OK and maybe I can get more bonuses from Sir Victor Cui if I do that!

MMA Orient: You live and train in Kuala Lumpur, how much do you enjoy fighting in front of the fans there?

Kelly:
The last time I fight in Malaysia was against Bae Young Kwon and I am not happy with my performance because I won by decision and in my career this is the only time that this has happened. I know I can fight better than that and I want everyone in Malaysia to see what ‘The Natural’ can do, Bae Young Kwon did not want to strike with me but I know Honorio is not scared to have a striking war so this will be a much better fight and I will try to win by submission or KO and make a very exciting fight to say thank you to everyone who has taken care of me since I am living in Malaysia.

MMA Orient: In your last fight your eye was closed and you still fought on to win the fight, how difficult was that?

Kelly:
After the first round I could not see from my eye and the doctor wanted to stop the fight but I had Chef Ro in my corner who is my manager and he is same like a Father to me and he told me that I could win and I must not stop and I knew I could not give up because of all the Pinoy fans who were watching. Thank God nothing was broken and I am ready to start hard training again so that I can win the ONE FC belt on February 2.

MMA Orient: How do you find fighting 10 minute rounds in a ring for the URCC compares to fighting five minute rounds in a cage for ONE FC?

Kelly:
I think it is a big advantage for a fighter to know that you can fight 10 minutes because five minutes is much more easy. Me and Honorio have both fought for 10 minutes many times and have won after fighting a long time and that means we know we can fight very fast in the ONE FC and not have to save energy and wait for later in the fight. That is why the URCC is very good experience, most fighters never fight more than five minutes to the Pinoys have some advantage because of this.

MMA Orient: Do you have any predictions for your fight with Honorio?

Kelly:

I think fight of the night. It will be a war.

ONE FC 7 Full Fight Card Released Including Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen vs. Shinichi “BJ” Kojima and Vuyisile Colossa vs. Lowen Tynanes

docyogen

One Fighting Championship is headed back to Malaysia for their 7th installment which will be held on 2 February 2013 at PUTRA INDOOR STADIUM, BUKIT JALIL, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.

One FC 7 will feature their first-ever featherweight championship. Two top Filipino fighters will battle it out to and cement their names in the hiistory of Asian MMA to be the first One FC featherweight champion as Eric “The Natural” Kelly (9-0) faces fellow Filipino fighter Honorio “The Rock” Banario (7-1).

Also on the card, two of the most well-known flyweight fighters in Asia will try to beat the hell out of each other as undefeated Filipino flyweight fighter Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen of Team Lakay battles Japanese flyweight phenom Shinichi “BJ” Kojima for a shot at the flyweight contender spot.

Another exciting match-up has been added for ONE FC 7 as Top Hawaiian prospect Lowen Tynanes, fresh off his 1st round TKO victory over Eduard “Landslide” Folayang last December 1st is on for another huge challenge when he takes on a dangerous striker Vuyisile “The Cheetah” Colossa.

tynanes

ONE FC 7 – Return of Warriors will also feature fast-rising Malaysian lightweight fighter Peter Davis will face an exciting and explosive fighter in Leo Krishna.

“Return of Warriors” will also showcase two bouts of the inaugural four-man Malaysian National Featherweight Championship Tournament will take place as National Silat Champion AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor squares off against Muay Thai Champion Jian Kai Chee and the slugger from Johor, Melvin Yeoh will look to score an impressive win in his ONE FC debut against Raymond Tiew.

Here’s the full fight card for ONE FC 7 – Return of Warriors

one fc 7 fight card

Honorio Banario vs. Eric Kelly Is Set For The Inaugural ONE FC Featherweight Championship On February 2, 2013

banario vs kelly

Two of the most explosive and powerful Filipino featherweights are set to fight each other as former teammates Eric “The Natural” Kelly takes on Honorio “The Rock” Banario for the first-ever ONE FC Featherweight championship scheduled on 2 February 2013 at 16,000 seating capacity Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This fight between Banario and Kelly is supposed to happen this month but due to Kelly’s URCC obligations, the match-up is now scheduled on 2 February 2013.

I believe that this fight is going to make history as both fighters personally knows each other and has been training together in the past; so both guys are going to really prepare for this fight because first of all, this fight is for the first-ever One FC 145 lbs. belt and both of them knows their strength and weaknesses so I am expecting a very technical, fast-paced and adrenaline-filled scrap between this two warriors from the Philippines.

Kelly is coming off from a very entertaining submission victory over Brad Terrey at URCC 22 – DEKADA. “The Natural” gave all his best that night against the American Terrey to prove that he is one of Philippines’ most dangerous featherweight fighters.

(left) Eric Kelly and Brad Terrey (right) after their URCC 22 fight

(left) Eric Kelly and Brad Terrey (right) after their URCC 22 fight

We all saw the damage Terrey did to Kelly’s face, but the Filipino didn’t disappoint as he showcased his well-rounded game against a much bigger opponent. Kelly’s strikes are lethal, his speed is extraordinary and his ground game is phenomenal. Kelly’s style will surely give Banario very tough fight.

On the other hand, Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario has his own strength in his game that he will utilize to beat Kelly. I think many people doesn’t recognized this, but I think Banario and his outstanding wrestling and boxing skills might be the antidote to Eric Kelly’s skill set.

We last saw Banario in action at ONE FC 5 – Pride of a Nation when he annihilate Andrew Benibe in the third round. I noticed on that fight that Banario’s boxing and his defense has greatly improved. He throws some quick combinations which landed to Benibe’s face, “The Rock” also scored some easy takedowns during that fight.

ONE FC 7 – Return of Warriors will also feature fast-rising Malaysian lightweight fighter Peter Davis will face an exciting and explosive fighter in Leo Krishna.

“Return of  Warriors” will also showcase two bouts of the inaugural four-man Malaysian National Featherweight Championship Tournament will take place as National Silat Champion AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor squares off against Muay Thai Champion Jian Kai Chee and the slugger from Johor, Melvin Yeoh will look to score an impressive win in his ONE FC debut against Raymond Tiew.