Team Lakay's Kevin Belingon meets Reece McLaren in title eliminator bout
ONE Championship on Jul 25, 2017 12:45 PM
Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon is one win away from once again challenging for the ONE Championship bantamweight title. (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
ONE Championship is set to return for another great night of fights in Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Negara on 18 August with ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in Malaysia.
As always, several Malaysian heroes will feature on the card, as well as some of the world’s finest martial artists plying their trade in Asia today. Here is a quick recap of the full fight card.
Marat Gafurov faces Martin Nguyen in main event title rematch
For seven straight years, ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov has maintained his perfect record. With 15 wins under his belt, 12 of which have come by finish, the Russian is one of the most dominant featherweights in the world.
Featuring victories over the biggest names in the division, including warriors such as Kazunori Yokota, Ev Ting, and former kingpin Narantungalag Jadambaa, Gafurov has had an iron grip on the title.
However, for 28-year-old Australian Martin Nguyen, it was only a matter of time before he found himself in a familiar situation under better circumstances. After four first-round stoppage wins in a row over top opponents, Nguyen has earned himself another shot at the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
In their first encounter back in September of 2015, Nguyen stepped in as a late replacement for Gafurov’s original opponent in Indonesia. Taking the fight on just three days’ notice, Nguyen rolled the dice against such a fearsome opponent, but ultimately wound up getting choked out by the Russian champion in less than a minute.
This time, however, with a full training camp and a highly-improved skill set, Nguyen promises to give a much better account of himself.
Two Malaysian former title challengers attempt to bounce back
Also on the card is 21-year-old KL native Agilan “Alligator” Thani, fresh off his first world title challenge opposite ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren.
Although Thani took a tough loss, it was in his best interests to get right back in the mix of things. This time, he returns home to face Egypt’s Sherif “The Shark” Mohamed, a well-versed kickboxer and wrestler.
Another Malaysian coming off a shot at a world title, Ev “E.T.” Ting is also set to see action on the stacked card. Ting, who took on ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang last April, fell short of the title, dropping a unanimous decision to the Filipino hero.
Ting will take on Japanese veteran Nobutatsu Suzuki, who was the ONE Welterweight World Champion in 2014 before he surrendered the title to Ben Askren. Now with a slimmer frame, Suzuki debuts as a lightweight against one of the division’s top talents.
A bantamweight title eliminator
Elsewhere on the card is a bout between two former bantamweight title challengers, as Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of Baguio City, Philippines, battles high-level grappler Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Toowoomba, Australia.
ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes defeated Belingon in January of 2016, and McLaren in December of the same year via split decision. Now, with a title shot still looming on the horizon, both Belingon and McLaren will go head-to-head to determine who is best suited for another shot at ONE Championship gold.
Malaysian warrior Ann “Athena” Osman (5-3) is back in action, and ready to take the Malaysia-Singapore rivalry to the next level when she tackles former Olympic swimmer-turned-martial-artist May Ooi (2-2).
Osman was last seen in the cage in February, when she turned in a scintillating performance by defeating Cambodia’s Vy Srey Khouch via technical knockout just before the end of the first round. Ooi, on the other hand, is making her promotional debut.
Incredibly, two sibling pairs will feature on the same card at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS – Malaysian mainstays Gianni and Keanu Subba, and Filipino stars Rene and Robin Catalan.
The younger Subba, Keanu, is booked for another showdown with division rival Christian “The Warrior” Lee, while Gianni faces the unorthodox but always dangerous Japanese warrior Riku Shibuya.
As for the Catalans, Robin goes up against former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, accompanied by Rene versus Chinese prospect Bu Huo You Ga.
Keanu Subba and Christian Lee have long been on a collision course, dating back to when they first emerged as top featherweight prospects.