Eric Kelly is one of the brightest prospects in Asian MMA, with a solid Filipino fanbase and a 7-0 ledger, including two wins on One Fighting Championship events.
The Filipino has a huge marquee match-up at the next event, as he is set to face former UFC Lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
“Lil Evil” Pulver was one of the première fighters in world MMA, until his loss to Takanori Gomi began a decline that ended at 4 wins, 10 losses, the latter six fights of which were all consecutive losses.
Since a tearful retirement, the former world champion righted the ship somewhat, and has notched up four victories, against two losses. He is now signed to One FC, and is looking to relaunch his career and show that he is still a dangerous, world class level fighter.
Eric Kelly is a tough task. Rising prospect versus faded star; who will win? Here is Kelly’s take on it:
What do you think of Jens Pulver as a fighter?
I thanks to Jens Pulver that he accept to fight a fighter like me that is starting to build his career in MMA. Jens is a great fighter and it is a great challenge for my career. I would also like to give thanks to OneFC for give me this opportunity and also to URCC because they give me my chance to be professional MMA fighter.
How excited are you to be fighting a former UFC champion?
I am very excited, Pulver has fought many famous fighters like BJ Penn and Takanori Gomi and I am happy that now I can fight him too and I hope I can win.
Do you think your fitness and conditioning could make the difference against a fighter who is seven years older than you?
Yes I think my fitness and conditioning is an advantage to fight Jens, I train every day at Muayfit and I am in the best shape of my life. I feel confident I can fight for three whole rounds.
Pulver wrestled at an NCAA level, are you making any special preparations to deal with his wrestling?
I am just training hard and do my best to win. We have a wrestling coach called Matt Pellino and he will help me prepare.
Do you think you will be able to submit a fighter who has been studying the ground game for so long?
I don’t know what will happen when we fight in the cage but I will do my best to give the fans a great fight for me. I have won many fights by submission but I also like to fight standing up and I would love to win by knock out for the first time in Manila but I don’t know what will happen. If I win I will be very happy.
Did you used to watch Pulver’s fights when he was UFC champion?
Yes I watched some fights of Jens and I am so much happy that I will fight and test my skill to a former UFC champion.
Do you think Pulver will be the best fighter you have ever faced?
I don’t know about that but for me I feel that this is a big step to my career.
How excited are you to be fighting in the Philippines?
I am so much excited to fight again in front of my fellow countrymen. I am very happy that OneFC is giving me this chance to fight in front of 15000 people and I hope all the fans will be cheer for me.
Will you be spending any time training in the Philippines?
I will focus my training in Muayfit Kuala Lumpur.
Do you have a message for the Filipino fans?
To my fellow Filipino please support me in my coming fight this coming August 31 against former UFC champion Jens Pulver. To my Family to my Muayfit family to all my brothers and sisters in Kuala Lumpur,to Chef Ro,to all people that believe in me to all friends in Malaysia and in Philippines and to all my Sponsors please continue pray and support me in my career.God bless you All and Thank You All…
Eric Kelly vs. Jens Pulver will go down on the One FC: Pride of a Nation card, August 31, from Manila, the Philippines.
Kelly will have the support of a raucous hometown crowd, but Pulver will surely find himself the worldwide favourite. Should Kelly win, it will be a major step in his career towards being recognised as a truly elite featherweight in Asia, and one of the few guys with a clearly defined target on his chest!
I Am – literally – The Walrus. Goo Goo Ca Joo