Kelly Ready for All-Brit Battle

Jan 10, 2008
After discovering MMA three years ago, Paul Kelly tore himself away from a life of crime and street fighting to pursue a career in the cage. By the sounds of it, the tough Merseyside scrapper abandoned his old ways in the nick of time.

"It's 2008," Kelly said. "No one fights anymore, so it's no good on the streets. Where I live, you get shot in the head."

Kelly will make history Jan. 19.

At UFC 80 in England, he and Paul Taylor (Pictures) will become the first U.K. fighters to face each other on a UFC card. With their contrasting styles and the major opportunities at stake, the matchup promises to be an all-out war.

Fans will be familiar with the work of Taylor following his destruction of Edilberto de Oliveira (Pictures) and his rousing display against Marcus Davis (Pictures), but it seems little is known about his Wolfslair-trained opponent.

Kelly has successfully turned his riotous life around, but his penchant for delivering violence is still very much alive. Now, though, it's confined to the cage.

Known for his brutal and unforgiving ground-and-pound, Kelly has carved through his U.K. opposition and caused horrendous damage to some of his less fortunate opponents.

"I think Bruce Davis needed 50 stitches or something," Kelly said with almost a note of regret in his voice. "He got some ridiculous amount of stitches in his face. I was ground-and-pounding him for three and a half minutes, punch-elbow, elbow-punch, you know, working my combos. I cut his face up so bad with those little short elbows, and his face was a mess afterwards. They had to put it in black and white on the telly."

In contrast to his Wolfslair teammate Mike Bisping, "Tellys" does not describe himself as a confident fighter, even though his potential to succeed is not questioned by U.K. insiders.

"I just go in and have a good scrap and hopefully get the outcome, but I never really go in there thinking I'm going to smash his face in," Kelly said.

With his mind securely focused on the biggest fight of his career so far, Kelly assessed Taylor's strengths as standup and Thai skills.

"I think my boxing's better than his," Kelly said. "And I think my groundwork -- he's very fluent on the ground, but I think with a bit of luck, I'll be a little bit too aggressive for him and that may sway the fight."

In the gym, however, Kelly said he never takes anyone down. Instead, he likes to stand and bang it out.

"I won't take it to the ground," he explained, "but I've won all my fights by ground-and-pound or submission, so I want to showcase my standup and have a good slug-out with him."

Kelly could get the brawl he wants. He suggested Taylor could be especially game if he's finishing out his contract.

"Most people sign a three-fight contract," Kelly said. "This is his third fight, so he's going to let it all hang out or it might be curtains for him. All I'm going to say to Paul is good luck, and let's get a bonus out of it for fight of the night."
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