Metrowalk Commercial Complex, Pasig, National Capital Region, Philippines
Win | TKO
There are two Kelly brothers, both good fighters; Edward Kelly is the calmer one of the pair, or at least until he gets in the cage. Maybe it’s part of his proud Igorot spirit, something both brothers cherish.
He was born on March 1, 1984, in the epicenter of MMA fighting, where many of the good fighters come from, Baguio, Benguet, on the island of Luzon. Like his brother Eric, he grew up in relatively comfortable surroundings, his dad a delivery driver for farming equipment, his mother the Barangay captain as well as a Sayote farmer, but, unlike his brother, he didn’t have to endure any paternal beatings, mainly due to two reasons; one, his brother was the naughty one and therefore the lightning rod for his dad’s ire, and two, he was the opposite of his brother in that he was shy and quiet and not one to go around fighting and getting into trouble at school. He’s kind of quiet, affable, laid back and thoroughly pleasant; he’s not your typical natural fighter I guess.
His way into Mixed Martial Arts fighting was via a slow and slightly meandering path, but, as is usually the case with brothers, it was a case of the young ‘un following in the footsteps of the big ‘un. His cousin was a karate expert and it was this that initially turned his head, backed up by the fact that by the time he left high school his brother was already making his way in competitive kickboxing. He started going to the gym and began taking part in local kickboxing competitions around the province, showing a natural aptitude for the sport, as well as a ferocious side to him that is not normally evident in his natural demeanor.
But what he mostly displayed in bundles were that all-too-important characteristics, focus and a willingness to work; he concentrated in training, working hard and intensely to improve himself, never giving up, never letting up, and if he found something hard, he just kept doing it until he got it right. Another aspect which revealed itself in those formative years was his passion, quiet and bridling but always ready to explode.
He was never one of those people that had inner demons and wild rage inside him that he needed to vent. Indeed, the next step in his path to glory didn’t come from some innate need to fight, it was purely down to practical reasons borne out of the desire to further his education but not having the finances to do so. While fighting for around two years in the local competitions, he was spotted by the local university (University Cordilleras) coach who informed him that he could enroll him into a Category A scholarship program, meaning all his fees are paid for if he represented his college at Wushu; he duly enrolled to study Criminology.
The team he was part of in college ended up becoming Team Lakay and was comprised of the very same fighters which went on to form the core of that team, which he still fights for. They fought all over the country, representing the university in Wushu-Sanshou competitions, and Edward proved to be as good as his brother was. He also fought all over the country representing his hometown of Baguio in kickboxing competitions; it seems he just couldn’t get enough of it.
And his passion always came to the fore. His thoughts in his fights were not about hurting the other person, but merely to “beat my opponent in the most passionable way”, that is full of knockouts and action, something to make the crowd scream and shout until the very end of the fight. So, he was on his way, he was following in his brother’s footsteps, and his career in both Wushu and kickboxing was showing more than just promise.
Then, in true sensible style, in 2008, he went to Bataan with thoughts of becoming a policeman, which would give him a nice wage and still allow him to carry on fighting in competitions. But then disaster struck; he fell in love and got married. And, like so many women, who are not bloodthirsty by nature, his wife did not particularly approve of him being a fighter by trade; and like so many mother-in-laws who just, disapprove in general, his mother-in-law didn’t want him fighting either.
So he did the only thing he could do when faced with such odds, he relented and gave the fighting game up, albeit after taking part in a couple of local competitions. In true Kelly-like entrepreneurial spirit, he started a small business selling 2nd hand shoes and generally looked around for more work, and quenched his thirst for active sports and keeping fit by taking up other sports, mainly cycling, playing volleyball, and going to the gym.
This went on for five years until he could resist the urge no longer. In 2013, with his brother by now fighting in ONE FC, he caught the bug once again, especially after his brother invited him to join him in the gym he was working at in Malaysia, allowing him to earn and train at the same time. He decided to once again chase his dreams of beating everybody out there and becoming a champion.
He spent eight months in Malaysia, fought there twice, once at Ultimate Beatdown 11 and once for the MIMMA (Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts) organization and then, through his brother, entered ONE FC.
He still lives in Bataan, looking after his wife and son and keeping fit mainly by cycling, but trains in Baguio whenever he has a fight coming up. His dream is still the same and he is relentless in pursuing it, insisting he will not stop until he is world champion.
There’s only one thing which could derail this and that’s being matched against his brother; as the younger of the two, he would have to, out of respect, let his older sibling win.
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