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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 15: (R-L) Tony Kelley punches Kai Kamaka in their featherweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Tony Kelley hints at bantamweight move after thriller in UFC debut

UFC 252 FOTN bonus winner speaks on the bout.

At UFC 252, Tony Kelley and Kai Kamaka fought a three round war to open up the night of fights that would follow. A unanimous decision (29-28X3) victory for Kamaka, but 50,000 dollar bonus for both men as Dana White named it fight of the night (FOTN).

“It’s an honor,” Kelley told MyMMANews. “Me and Kai wanted it, we came stood toe to toe and left it all out there. I mean I’m proud to walk away with FOTN on that card,” Kelley continued. “I’m proud to be with the UFC.”

Tony Kelley at 33 years of age finally made his long awaited UFC debut at UFC 252. With a professional record of 6-2, Kelley has made a name for himself on the regional scene. Finally he got a short notice offer he couldn’t deny, Kelley is exactly where he should be.

“Im right where I’m supposed to be,” Kelley stated. “Feels like it’s about time, it’s hard to get going for these regional shows man. I know what I’m capable of and where I can be,” Kelley continued. “It’s so relieving, 3 of us from my area of  Shreveport Louisiana and it’s just awesome.”

Kelley  is proud of his performance even as he fell short on the judges scorecards. Although mad at himself for attempting a guillotine while dominating the battle for that particular stretch considering it a rookie mistake. Kelley takes us inside his corner as the fight was 19-19 heading into round 3 for many.

“My corner was clutch for everything,” Kelley told MyMMANews. “Those guys really believe in me, they knew the task at hand and reminded me of what I’m doing. I got a little complacent in round one, I started good but he hit me with a nice clean body shot it definitely slowed me down,” Kelley continued. “I had a hard time figuring out his timing so I had to make adjustments, I knew I lost round one and knew I had to take this fight to win it and even though I didn’t win it I felt I did that.”

As for what is next for the Louisiana native who although ultimately lost, had his stock rise as fans watched two men leave it all out on the canvas, a move to bantamweight is very possible. Kelley has fought twice at 135-lb in his career, and isn’t opposed to the new home.

“I’m actually eyeing the bantamweight division,” Kelley told MyMMANews. “I’ve got some figuring out to do, got to go to the PI, we’re going to take it one step at a time,” Kelley continued. “I think bantamweight is the way to go, I’ve fought two fights in my career at bantamweight and felt really good.”

Catch the full interview in the video above, Kelley speaks on the 50,000 bonus and much more!

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