ONE: No longer just a contender, Kevin Belingon has more surprises in store for Bibiano Fernandes
Santino Honasan on Jul 30, 2018 06:08 PM
Bibiano Fernandes and Kevin Belingon exchange pleasantries inside the cage at ONE: Reign of Kings.
It took nearly two years, but Team Lakay bantamweight star Kevin Belingon has finally secured his status as the next guy in line to face reigning ONE Championship Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes.
Now, he even has a world championship to show for it.
Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, Belingon outworked two-division world champion Martin Nguyen to become the new interim ONE Championship Bantamweight World Champion, finally setting up a long-awaited rematch against Fernandes.
While Belingon did pretty much leave no doubt in his win over Nguyen, the popular belief was that he had already earned his shot against Fernandes, even before the Nguyen bout.
After losing to Fernandes the first time around, Belingon wasted no time in working his way back to the top-tier of the division, demolishing three former world title contenders on his way to a five-fight winning streak.
And as ONE Championship founder and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong revealed days before the Belingon-Nguyen bout in Manila, the Pinoy knockout artist was indeed supposed to finally get his shot against Fernandes, unfortunately the champ was still out with an injury.
All the should haves and shoud be’s however, are in the past now. Belingon has secured his shot, and all he’s going to do now is keep training and wait for a date for his rematch with Fernandes.
“Yun nga, meron na [‘tong belt], kaya wala nang conte-contender.” Belingon said, beaming with confidence during the post-fight press conference. “Ako na yung nasa linya talaga na makalaban ni Bibiano [Fernandes], kaya antay-antay lang kung ano yung sabihin ng ONE ulit kung kailan para mapag-handaan ng husto.”
As for the upcoming rematch with Fernandes, ‘The Silencer’ says that he’s got some more surprises in store for the Brazilian grappling ace.
“Marami pa, maramin pang surprises kaya yun yung abangan niyo sa paghaharap namin ni Bibi.”
The last time that Belingon and Fernandes met, it didn’t end well for the 30-year old Baguio native, as Fernandes needed just one round to score the submission.
That, of course, was the pre-Baguio Jiu-Jitsu days of Team Lakay.
Since then, Belingon and the rest of the Benguet-based MMA stable has put a premium on improving their ground game, and the last few years have shown their steady improvement.
And while they can hold their own against the best grapplers in the game, they aren’t about to rest on their laurels.
Belingon knows that to be able to finally dethrone ONE Championship’s longest-reigning world champion, there’s a whole lot more work to be done.
“Marami pang kailangan i-improve, lalo na sa wrestling and sa ground, kasi magaling si Bibiano dun.” Belingon admitted. “Yun yung isang pag-hahandaan namin para pag nagka-harap kami, at least malalabanan ko siya sa ground, sa gilid ng cage, sa striking, kahit anong angulo.”
It took nearly two years and six wins for Kevin Belingon to get another shot at the guy in the bantamweight division. Now, all he needs is just one more win to become the guy in the bantamweight division.