On February 2nd, ONE Fighting Championship's 7th event will host a much anticipated bout between Eric Kelly (9-0) and Honorio Banario (7-1), which will be for the promotion's inaugural featherweight title. This is a bout between two of the best featherweights in Asia, who also happened to have a lot of history between them.
Both men are Filipinos who have dominated early on their careers. They have trained extensively with each other during their time in Baguio City in the Philippines, and as they helped each other through out the years, it led to both fighters claiming URCC titles in their respective divisions. Kelly took the URCC Featherweight Crown, while Banario, who was fighting at lightweight at the time, took the URCC title on that division.
When the time came to showcase their skills on a much bigger stage with ONE FC, Banario dropped to featherweight, and both men churned out impressive perfomances as of late. This has set up the stage for the headliner of ONE FC 7, and in less than two weeks from now, these two countrymen will have to set their friendship aside when they try and take each other out for the inaugural ONE FC Featherweight title.
Here's the tale of the tape:
|Eric Kelly||vs||Honorio Banario|
|145 lbs||Weight||145 lbs|
|7 - Submission||Method||5 - Submission|
|1 - TKO||2 - TKO|
|1 - Decision||1 Loss - Submission|
|URCC Featherweight Champion||Titles||URCC Lightweight Champion|
|Bae Young Kwon (W - Decision)||Common Opponents||Bae Young Kwon (L - Submission)|
Not only are these guys very familiar with each other, they also have very similar styles and they both have a strong Wushu background. Banario will be the bigger and younger fighter, while Kelly will have an experience advantage as he has fought more times and has wins over stiffer competition. They have a common opponent in Korean prospect, Bae Young Kwon, with Kelly taking a decision, and Banario succumbing to a quick submission loss.
Banario says he is a completely different fighter since losing for the first time, and he did show a lot of those improvements on his last bout. Will it be enough to stop Kelly's impressive run though? I guess we'll find out very soon.
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