Kevin Belingon Welcomes Immediate Rematch With Bibiano Fernandes

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 02, 2019 07:56 PM
Kevin Belingon Welcomes Immediate Rematch With Fernandes
“His head was moving while I was trying to rain down elbows. I never really intended to hit him on the back of his head.”

Disqualification is the worst way a World Title could change hands.

That is exactly what unfolded when Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon lost his ONE Bantamweight World Title to his old rival, Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes, in the co-main event of ONE: A NEW ERA last Sunday, 31 March at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

The highly-anticipated finale to the pair’s trilogy turned out to be as exciting as predicted, but a series of unintentional elbows to the back of Fernandes’ head in the third round put a halt to the action-packed contest.

Belingon was naturally apologetic, but insists that he didn’t mean to hit the Brazilian in such a dangerous spot.

“I felt like I was winning, and then it happened,” he explained.

“His head was moving while I was trying to rain down elbows. I never really intended to hit him on the back of his head.”

The 39-year-old Fernandes was unable to continue after the incident, prompting referee Olivier Coste to hand him a red card and disqualify him from the contest.

It was an unacceptable outcome for both martial artists — especially “The Silencer,” who believes the Brazilian challenger could have continued in their World Title match.

“I felt like he could have continued. Before the incident, I knew I had him hurt on the feet,” said Belingon, who had to survive an early onslaught from Fernandes in the first round.

“He was able to hit me with an overhand right in the first round, but I was able to recover. But that’s my fault — my defense was too open in that sequence. I got hit, but I was able to recover instantly.”

The drama did not stop after the contest, however.

Fernandes refused to accept Belingon's apology and the belt, saying that he does not want to become the ONE Bantamweight World Champion in that manner.

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who was equally unsatisfied with the outcome, stepped in to announce an immediate rematch between the pair at the post-event press conference.

The announcement was a welcome development for Belingon, who thinks a fourth meeting would finally determine the king of the talent-filled bantamweight division.

“I’m thankful to ONE Championship, especially Chatri Sityodtong for the immediate rematch. This is the only way we’ll settle the score,” Belingon said.

“I was so happy to hear it from Chatri himself. This is the best way to see who really is the champion.

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