Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Fight This Weekend In Dubai Will Determine Cordilleran Fighter Eric Kelly's Next Opponent

This coming weekend (August 29), ONE FC 19: Reign of Champions will unfold at the World Trade Centre in the beautiful city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Facing off in the undercard are two of One Fighting Championship's best featherweights - Koji Oishi of Japan and Jadamba Narantungalag of Mongolia. It's a championship affair. Oishi will be defending for the second time the belt he snatched (and successfully defended in a rematch) from Honorio Banario in 2013.

Expected to be closely watching the bout is Eric Kelly of Baguio City. After his win over Rob Lisita of Australia last July, there were some reports stating that he'll be fighting Oishi next for the belt. However, because of the injuries he incurred from his brutal war with Lisita, he wasn't cleared to return to the ring this early. So stepping up to the plate is Narantungalag of Cambodia who just won his ONE FC debut last May over Team Lakay's Banario.

The ONE FC has promised Kelly that he remains as the number one contender to the promotion's featherweight throne. That said, sooner or later, he will be fighting for the belt. And his future opponent in the ring will either be Oishi or Narantungalag. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that Kelly will fight for the belt right away.
Eric Kelly having his hands raised after submitting Rob Lisita on July 11, 2014. Photo by ONE FC.
When the curtain closes in Dubai this weekend, there will be several possible scenarios. These are:
1) Oishi defeats Narantungalag in a dominant fashion and sets up a date with Kelly.
2) Oishi wins a very close fight or the bout ends up as a draw. In these possible scenarios, a rematch will be made. That said, Kelly will have to wait for his chance yet again. Or he could take a stay-busy fight while waiting for his shot. There's a risk to this as he could lose the stay-busy fight and blow his chances at the title.
3) Narantungalag defeats Oishi. If this happens, there might be clamor for a rematch. Again, Kelly will have to watch at the sidelines.

So Kelly's run for the belt will depend mostly on how good Oishi will be in Dubai this weekend. If Oishi knocks out Narantungalag (like he did to Banario twice), it's safe to say that a date with Kelly is a done deal.