A veteran of four fights at ONE Championship, Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly (6-3-0) of the Philippines will get to welcome newcomer Jordan “Showtime” Lucas (8-0-0) of Melbourne, Australia as Lucas makes his promotional debut tomorrow night, Friday, 18 March at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
The pair do battle in a three-round featherweight bout as part of the undercard for ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS, which features returning hometown hero “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang in the main event against Egypt’s Mohamed Ali.
Kelly, 32, has had four bouts for ONE Championship so far, and after a few setbacks, he’s in search of another victory. The Team Lakay striking ace believes he can get the job done against one of Australia’s most promising featherweight prospects in Lucas.
“Jordan Lucas – I think he’s tough but the game is MMA so we don’t know what will happen in the fight,” said Kelly, who trains in the high altitudes of Baguio City with his Team Lakay brethren.
“I have the confidence to beat him because I trained for this, and I feel confident that I will beat him.”
Kelly is the younger brother of featherweight standout Eric “The Natural” Kelly, who is widely considered the best local homegrown talent to come out of the Philippines. But Edward doesn’t live in his older brother’s shadow, and has his own fighting style that has brought him success in the fight game.
Team Lakay, led by head coach Mark Sangiao, are practitioners of Wushu and have made the unique striking technique their primary base. The discipline features lightning quick kicks and zippy punches from all angles, and has proven to be a weapon of force for the team.
Yet, in mixed martial arts, grappling is also a huge part of the equation, and something most Filipino fighters consider an area of improvement. But Kelly says he has been working on his ground game, and if the fight does indeed go to the ground, he’ll be ready.
“My training was scientific, we had to focus on my weaknesses and we needed to develop my strength so that I can win this fight,” said Kelly.
“I will stick to my gameplan, if we go to the ground, we go to the ground, if we stand up, then we stand up. But I’m prepared to escape submissions and counter if the chance comes.”
Undefeated at eight wins, Kelly’s opponent Lucas considers himself a complete fighter. Two of the Australian’s wins have come by technical knockout, while four have come by submission. To say that Lucas is a threat on the ground is accurate, and he’ll look to exploit Kelly’s perceived weakness on the mat.
But if it were up to Kelly, Lucas would never get the chance.
“I’ll strike with him first and we’ll see if it goes to the ground,” said Kelly.
“But if I get the chance, I will knock him out in the first round.” – By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB