Australia’s Rob “Ruthless” Lisita makes his second ONE FC appearance on July 11, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan at ONE FC 18 – War of Dragons against Filipino submission specialist Eric “The Natural” Kelly as the main feature of the night.
The currently surging featherweight from the Land Down Under, Lisita boasts a 14-5 record with 11 of his 14 wins having come by TKO/KO or submission. Lisita is known for having a pair of very powerful fists, ground skills,and a granite chin – no one’s been able to knock this guy out since he started fighting in 2008.
The 31-year-old made his ONE FC debut last May in the Philippines against Yusuke Kawanago, a fighter who handed him the most recent loss of his career back in 2012 at Legend FC 10 for the Featherweight Championship. It took Lisita 28 seconds in the opening frame to avenge his loss by knocking Kawanago out with some vicious ground and pound. The crowd was on their feet after witnessing Lisita’s handiwork.
“Ruthless’” next task is to take out former ONE FC 145 title contender Eric Kelly, a guy who has an impressive 10-1 record and has notable wins over the likes of Bae Yong Kwon, Mitch Chilson, Jens Pulver, and Brad Terrey. He is training at Phuket Top Team in Thailand in preparation for the next challenge of his career. MMA-in-ASIA caught up with Lisita shortly after the announcement of his match up with Kelly.
MMA-in-ASIA: You are coming off a very impressive KO win in your rematch with Japanese fighter Yusuke Kawanago last May in the Philippines. How does it feel to avenge your loss in such a convincing way? What was your mindset headed into that fight?
Lisita: It feels awesome to get to fight for ONE FC, check out the first episode of Phuket Dreaming to hear my thoughts and see the Kawanago beef.
MMA-in-ASIA: You’ve certainly made a huge statement to other featherweights in ONE FC with that win. What do you think of the current champion Koji Oishi?
Lisita: I remember Koji for being the guy to block punches with his face. [Laughs] He has a lot of experience and is the champ of ONE FC so he must be good. I believe I’m better, so I want the chance to prove it.
MMA-in-ASIA: Since your start in MMA you have put on some exciting performances. When it comes to Rob Lisita, what do you feel are the attributes which have aided in the success you have obtained thus far in your career?
Lisita: I fight to kill or be killed, I didn’t fight any amateurs so I never think of points. I’m athletic and I love to fight. I live for this sh*t.
MMA-in-ASIA: Your next opponent is going to be Eric Kelly. Can you give us your thoughts on him?
Lisita: He has a nice record. We met and he was cool. W’ell see how he acts now. I’m happy that I’m supposed to be fighting a guy that will not run. I’m going to try to take his head. He is no different to any other opponent; they’re all good, I just prepare myself well and do my best. I think my best is better than any featherweight in the world’s best.
MMA-in-ASIA: A win over Kelly could catapult you into the number one contender spot. How important is this fight to you?
Lisita: It’s so important. It’s my next fight. This is my career, I fight to provide for my family. I’m going to get that win bonus or die trying. If I keep winning, I deserve a title shot and if I beat Oishi I deserve to be champ.
MMA-in-ASIA: You’ve shown some flash finishes by both submissions and KOs. What are some of the things you’ve been working on in training? Are there weaknesses in your game you’re trying to improve?
Lisita: I work to improve everywhere. You need to keep moving forward, otherwise you’ll go backward. I’m not bragging but I know I’m strong anywhere. I can finish a fight from any position. At Phuket Top Team, we spar a lot with tough guys, that’s the best way to gauge if you’re improving.
MMA-in-ASIA: Can you talk a bit about your preparations for this fight?
Lisita: Lots of sparring, wrestling, BJJ. Sprint work, agility work, and road runs. I train hard no matter who I fight. That’s just what we do at Phuket Top Team.
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you feel separates you from your opponent that will give you the victory in this fight?
Lisita: I think I hit harder and I’ve got a better chin. I’m going to be ready to put my fists on his chin for 15 minutes if I have to.
MMA-in-ASIA: You literally picked up and moved your whole family to Thailand to train and fight full time. If you weren’t a pro fighter, what do you think you’ll be doing for a living?
Lisita: Not much, hard labor. I’m a Yobbo from West Sydney that’s good at sports. If I weren’t a fighter I would feel like a lost person.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Lisita: Manny Pacquiao. He proves if you have the skill and the will, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals.
MMA-in-ASIA: If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be?
Lisita: Buakaw. Because he’s cool a**. They love him here in Thailand. We’re around the same weight and I know in a real fight I’d crush him.
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you have anything to say to Kelly and to those who might have doubts about your ability to win this fight?
Lisita: The people that have doubts probably haven’t even seen me fight and are support him because he’s Filipino. I’ll show them how good I am. As for Eric, I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to make some money with him. I look forward to fighting him on July 11… and watch my left hook. That eye, bro.”