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Hometown hero Kelly claims special UFC win

AAP logoAAP 27/11/2016 Michael Ramsey

Four-time Olympic judoka Dan Kelly's UFC victory over American Chris Camozzi in Melbourne was special in more ways than one.

The mid-card fight threatened to steal the show at Sunday's event at Rod Laver Arena, with hometown favourite Kelly judged the winner by unanimous decision after three intense rounds.

Kelly copped a brutal elbow to the face from Camozzi in the opening round which left the 39-year-old's face dripping blood for the rest of the bout.

But the veteran's superior grappling ability soon came to the fore, allowing him to pin Camozzi to the canvas and unleash a flurry of blows to his head late in the fight.

Exhausted and bloodied from a cut which would require 12 stitches, Kelly's first thought after the fight was to wish his son Erik a happy 11th birthday.

Erik was diagnosed with cystinosis, a rare and serious genetic disorder which causes amino acids to accumulate throughout the body.

He is likely to require a kidney transplant and will have a shorter life expectancy than most children even with the new organ.

"I spoke to Erik this morning," Kelly said after the fight.

"It's no secret that my older son has some health issues so this is extra special today.

"He takes it all in his stride. What I do is easy compared to what he has to go through every single day. We could all learn a lot from him."

A late starter in the UFC, Kelly is hoping the win over Camozzi will pave the way for him to take on higher-ranked fighters.

And it again showed age is no barrier to success - especially for someone with the competitive spirit to represent his country at four Olympics.

"Apparently I move like a robot and I'm someone who can't strike," Kelly said with a grin.

"I hope they keep underestimating me. That's fine with me."

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