Team Lakay veteran Edward Kelly showed tremendous poise under great pressure en route to a split decision win over Egyptian rising star Ahmed Faress in ONE: Full Blast at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Friday, May 28.
Cautious of Faress’ second round grappling, the third round proved to be instrumental for Kelly as the Team Lakay stalwart landed solid body shots and precise leg kicks to haul more points.
Although it didn’t inflict much damage on the Egyptian fighter, Kelly made sure not to put the fight back on the ground and continued to battle on foot after suffering a near-triangle choke.
It was also evident that Faress lost steam in the final canto, leaving him flat-footed almost throughout the round with little to no clear strikes or counter on the Igorot warrior.
“I’m feeling it (triangle choke),” the 36-year-old Kelly, who returned to the winning column with an improved 13-8 record, told ONE commentator Mitch Chilson in a post-match interview. “Even though I myself got nearly to tap at 80% but mental toughness, brother.”
In the second round, Faress landed a high kick on Kelly before catching him off guard to convert a standing takedown at the 2:25 mark.
With his tenacity, Kelly can be heard catching his breath big time as he tries to slide out of the deep triangle choke attempt from the Egyptian foe.
After the escape, the Filipino warrior once again took on the challenge and stayed on top position with a little ground and pound action to end the round.
Both fighters had a fair share of points in the opening round with Kelly’s early takedown and striking and Faress’ ground game mastery.
After a dismal showing in 2019 and a hiatus last year, Kelly has finally made a statement with his comeback win and must continue his streak to earn a crack at the featherweight belt.
Faress, a product of ONE Warrior Series, for his part, fell to a 16-4 record.
ONE: Full Blast was a tape-delayed event that replaced the historic all-female card ONE: Empower.