Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters Eric “The Natural’ Kelly and Honorio “The Rock” Banario are both eyeing comeback victories when they face their respective foes in ONE: Global Rivals on April 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Early this year, Kelly, now with 12 wins and two losses, lost via third-round guillotine choke to Malaysian Ev Ting in ONE Clash of Heroes at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Expect a supernatural Eric Kelly. Hopefully, I would be able to pull off a knockout or submission win,” said Kelly in a press conference on Thursday at Dad’s restaurant in Mandaluyong City.
The 32-year old Kelly wants a shot at the featherweight title against Russian Timofey Nastyukhin.
Kelly is now focusing on his striking and ground game while getting inspiration from his idol the late legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
Nastyukhin has notched a series of ferocious finishes since joining ONE, including technical knockouts against top fighters Eduard Folayang and Yusuke Kawanago.
Banario, in his next fight, aims to showcase his lightning quick strikes against fellow Filipino fighter Vaughn Donayre.
Banario, now with an 8-6 win-loss record, is coming off five straight losses including his recent defeat against Malaysian featherweight fighter Ting.
Donayre is a lightweight standout from Cebu who quit his mechanical engineering job to become an MMA fighter.
Fighting in the main bout is Ben “Funky” Askren who will defend his ONE welterweight world title against hard-charging Russian Nikolay Aleksakhin.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID