Edward Kelly will face his martial arts hero when he returns to action at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.
“The Ferocious” will take on former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa on 23 June in Macau in a bout that could push him one big step closer to a title shot in the ONE featherweight division.
It’s a bout that excites the 34-year-old veteran, who will be looking to secure the 11th win of his career against the Mongolian star.
“I am at a great spot in my career, and I am extremely excited to be facing Jadambaa,” he says.
“I cannot wait to test my skills against a former world champion and a respected veteran in mixed martial arts.
“To be honest, Jadambaa is one of the very few peers that I look up to in ONE Championship. He is my idol. He is incredibly tough and durable. But most importantly, he has a big heart. It is an honour for me to compete against him.”
The bout represents Jadambaa’s first since November 2016, when he lost the ONE Featherweight World Title to Marat “Cobra” Gafurov. But after a lengthy spell away from the cage, the 42-year-old says he feels “10 years younger” and is ready to make his return as he bids to reclaim the belt.
Kelly is well aware of the danger Jadambaa possesses, and has a healthy respect for the Mongolian’s skills.
“I think Jadambaa is a tremendous striker,” he says.
“Although he does have good, solid grappling skills, I still believe his greatest strength is his striking. I am a striker too, so this bout has excitement written all over it. It will all come down to who can impose his will more.
“The only advantage I would have is probably age. I am a little younger than he is, and he has been in more cage wars, so the mileage is there. But in this particular fight, I do not think it will matter. I am expecting an honest, explosive contest between two talented strikers.”
Kelly has been in superb form in the past couple of years, having racked up a series of sensational wins stoppages, including a clean knockout of Vincent Latoel.
His most recent outing saw him claim another spectacular victory, as he stopped Cambodia’s Meas Meul in highlight-reel fashion after just 21 seconds to register the fastest finish in ONE featherweight history.
Now, the Team Lakay standout hopes to build on that result and cement his position as a serious contender in the ONE featherweight division, currently headed by one of his former opponents – two-weight world champion, Martin ”The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
“I always want to give the fans a good show, so it is important to me to not just win, but win with excitement,” he says.
“Being that he is the former featherweight world champion, this bout is very significant. I know if I can beat Jadambaa, it will bring me one huge step closer to getting that title shot.”