After more than a year, Eric “The Natural” Kelly is set to make his return to ONE Championship in the undercard of the promotion’s second foray in Macao, China. ONE: Kings and Conquerors will take place at the glamorous Cotai Arena of the Venetian Macao on Saturday, August 5.
“ONE Championship is thrilled to announce another amazing extravaganza at the world-class Cotai Arena in Macao,” ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong remarked about the card. “Our last show did extremely well to showcase our unique brand of world-class martial arts action, and we are excited to do it all over again this August. We have an amazing card planned for fans all across the world.”
Kelly (12-3), a 35-year-old standout from Baguio City, is widely considered one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.
The wushu practitioner combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, which has resulted in nine impressive submissions and one knockout out of 12 total victories. However, he has lost his last two bouts and is looking to get back on track when he takes on 38-fight veteran Kotetsu “No Face” Boku.
Boku (25-11-2), although originally from South Korea, is a Japanese martial arts legend and the former ONE Lightweight World Champion.
With more than 30 professional bouts on his resume, Boku has the experience of a seasoned veteran and has seen it all inside the cage. Always a crowd pleaser, Boku utilizes his dynamic boxing background with world-class grappling to subdue his opponents.
Joining Kelly on the card is fellow Baguio City native Joshua Pacio.
21-year-old Pacio (9-1) is one of the Philippines’ most talented strawweights.
A member of the famed Team Lakay MMA gym, Pacio is a wushu specialist with a solid grappling repertoire. All but one of his career victories have come by spectacular finish, including five wins by submission and three wins by knockout. The former number one contender bounced back from his first career loss, after taking a split decision win against former ONE World Strawweight Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke last May 26.
A tough task lies ahead of Pacio, however, as he is slated to lock horns with Hayato Suzuki.
Suzuki, 30, of Saitama, Japan (16-0-2), is set to make his ONE Championship debut after spending the majority of his career competing in his native Japan. Suzuki is known as a well-rounded warrior who has the ability to stop his foes with his heavy hands and technical grappling skills. Out of 16 wins, Suzuki has finished 11 of his opponents, including six by submission and five by knockout.