Ireland’s Nathan Kelly, who trains out of SBG Ireland, has been on quite the run. After dropping his first two professional fights, Kelly has won seven straight, with six finishes – three KO/TKOs and three submissions, all coming in the first round. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and former IMAAF runner-up, Kelly submitted Ben Ellis in a Showcase Bout during last year’s PFL Playoffs and submitted Zachary Hicks in March during this year’s Challenger Series.
Originally from Jamaica before making New York his home, Damion Nelson made his professional debut just a couple of years ago, earning a 4-3 record in the time since. Making his PFL debut here tonight, Nelson will be looking to get back on winning ways after dropping his last two fights.
This featherweight bout will see these two men look to impress PFL fans and officials as they vie for more opportunities.
Kelly comes out aggressively with a strong leg kick before pressuring Nelson and firing off flurries. Kelly landing on the lead leg. One-two from Kelly. Combination from Kelly, followed by a body kick. Kelly with another strong, speedy combination. Clinch between the two where Kelly lands a knee. Left hand by Kelly, and Nelson answers with a right. Kelly with a couple of more calf kicks. One-two from Kelly sees Nelson back up. Nelson trips up Kelly briefly and gets a hold of him, but Kelly gets away. Nelson lands a leg kick before the pace slows down.
One-two from Kelly. Kelly with a low kick. Right hand by Kelly. Combination by Nelson is missed and he eats a counter from Kelly. Low kick by Nelson. Combination and a low kick from Kelly. Both throw a combination. Right hand by Nelson, and he follows with a couple of front kicks. Low kick by Kelly. Kelly with a couple of left hands. Right hand by Nelson, but Kelly pressures him. Pause in the action due to an eye poke. Nelson throws a strong right hand. Kelly lands a knee. Kelly misses a combination, Nelson throws a high kick. Nelson catches Kelly with an uppercut, and Kelly answers with a big hook. The two exchange to the bell.
The two feeling each other out to start this round. A couple of low kicks being exchanged. More leg kicks throughout the first minute of this round. Kelly with a couple of quick jabs. More leg kicks from Nelson. Strong one-two from Nelson. Another low kick, but Nelson backs Kelly up. Right hand again from Nelson. Kelly presses for a takedown and gets Nelson against the SmartCage.A couple of right hands from Kelly against the fence. The two break apart about halfway through the round.
Back in the center of the SmartCage, Kelly missing a few jabs as Nelson circles him. Low kick from Kelly. Right hand by Kelly. Both land a low kick, with Nelson stumbling a bit. Small combination from Kelly and Nelson stumbles again! Kelly has Nelson pressed against the fence. The two exchanging, with knees from Nelson and a couple of shots from Kelly. On the break, Kelly comes after Nelson with a low kick. A couple of right hands from Kelly and another low kick before the bell.
The two exchanging. Nelson has a high kick blocked. Nelson goes for another kick, but Kelly lands a counter one-two. Both land a jab. Nelson trying to go forward but Kelly landing a couple of hooks, though he does get wobbled. Nelson continues to deliver low kicks, and it forces Kelly to switch stances. Counter right hand by Kelly puts Nelson off-balance. Left hand by Kelly. Right hand by Nelson, but Kelly presses forward with another one-two. Kelly presses Nelson against the SmartCage.
Nelson resists Kelly’s takedown attempts, and the two return to the center with about two minutes left. Kelly lands a right hand. The two exchange with about 90 seconds remaining. Nelson lands to the body. Kelly lands a knee inside, followed by a right hand. Jab by Nelson. Nelson goes for a jab but Kelly catches him. Kelly pursues the takedown again, and he gets Nelson against the fence once more. Nelson tying Kelly up to prevent the takedown again. One more combination from Kelly before the final bell.
Nathan Kelly def. Damion Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)