Eric Kelly (right) blocks Rob Lisita's kick.
MANILA – Filipino fighter Eric Kelly got a well-deserved $50,000 bonus for his thrilling cage encounter against Australian bruiser Rob Lisita at the main event of ONE FC: War of Dragons over the weekend.
Despite getting pummeled with haymakers and a knee to the face which broke his nose in the first round, “The Natural” was able to turn the tables on Lisita by securing a rear-naked choke that forced the Australian to tap out at 3:43 of Round 2.
“Nung first round na-knee ako, nung second round nasundot ng suntok. Tapos tinry nya akong i-choke kaya bumuhos palabas sa ilong ang dugo ko,” recalled Kelly in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com regarding his struggles against “The Ruthless.”
But all of Lisita’s efforts went to waste after he gassed out while Kelly managed to weather the Aussie’s attack.
“Pagod na pala siya. Nakita ko may tsansa na ako, kaya nadagdagan ang lakas ng loob ko. Kasi dehado talaga ako noong first round, nung second round pala naubos na siya,” explained Kelly.
ONE Fighting Championship CEO Victor Cui was so impressed by Kelly’s performance that they decided to award the Benguet-born fighter with a $50,000 “Warrior Bonus,” which was part of the promotion’s awarding scheme.
“Eric Kelly impressed me w his warrior spirit tonight. Congrats on earning the 1st ever #ONEWarriorBonus of US$50k #ONEFC #MMA #ONEFightNight,” said Cui in Twitter.
Aside from getting the bonus, Kelly lined himself up for a title shot against ONE FC featherweight champion Koji Oishi.
Kelly said he only wanted to prove that he can still fight no matter what the odds are.
“’Yung kahit anong magyari, kahit anong mangyari laban pa. Nakita nila na walang sukuan,” he said.