This weekend, the heads of several of Asia’s top MMA promotions, like ONE FC, DREAM (Japan), DEEP (Japan), URCC (Philippines), Road FC (Korea), CFC (Australia), and Dare (Thailand), will all be meeting together at an Asian MMA Summit to discuss several topics, including various ways on how to work better and improve on the ONE FC Network.
Months or years from now, this could potentially turn out to be a milestone event for the region, but as a fan of fights, the news I was more excited about was the newly announced match up for their ONE FC 4 card. That fight, one between Korea’s top featherweight prospect, Bae Young Kwon (7-2) and undefeated URCC Champion, Eric Kelly (6-0).
It’s a bout that not only provides exciting clash of styles, but is also one that has an interesting story line.
Eric Kelly last fought back in ONE FC’s inaugural event last September. The URCC champion stole the show after a thrilling back and forth war against the highly touted Mitch Chilson, which ended up with Kelly putting the Evolve MMA product to sleep. The impressive victory put Kelly on the map, and was originally booked to face Kwon at ONE FC 2. Unfortunately, the Filipino star had personal and managerial problems after. When it led to cancellations of that fight along with a few others, Kelly hasn’t had a chance to follow up on the momentum he gained from the biggest win of his career.
In his absence, Honorio Banario, a fellow Filipino URCC champion and a member of Kelly’s former camp in Team Lakay, stepped in to face Kwon. Kelly was left helplessly watching from the sidelines, witnessing the Korean fighter submit his former teammate in just seconds.
As I spoke to a frustrated Kelly after the event, he was visually disappointed that a fellow Filipino had taken a loss after having to step in on short notice to take his place. He knew that part of the blame fell on the decisions he made leading to the event. He knew it should’ve been him in the cage, and he was confident that the outcome would’ve been different.
On June 23rd, he will finally have that chance to prove that. He’s put those issues in the past, and now he’s just focused and ready for a good scrap.
More after the jump. Follow me on twitter — @antontabuena.
Video: Eric Kelly vs. Mitch Chilson – ONE FC 1 – Singapore, September 11, 2011:
Video: Bae Young Kwon vs. Honorio Banario – ONE FC 2 – Indonesia, February 11, 2012:
About the author