ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes — ONE Championship’s longest reigning title holder — is as dominant as a champion as they come.
Fernandes (20-3) will be making the seventh defense of his world title this Saturday, 5 August, opposite Andrew Leone (8-2). The bout takes place in the main event of ONE: KINGS & CONQUEROR at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena.
The marquee matchup is expected to be a compelling, back-and-forth affair, as two high-level martial artists will go head-to-head to determine the world’s best bantamweight.
However, it’s hard to pick against Fernandes, given he is a five-time BJJ world champion, hasn’t lost a bout since 2010, and is on a 12-fight win streak.
If you needed a reminder what the ONE Bantamweight World Champion is capable of, here is a quick recap of his top four performances in the ONE Championship cage.
Versus Reece “Lightning” McLaren At ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION, December 2016
Rarely do we ever see Bibiano Fernandes tested in professional competition, but there was a growing sense that 25-year-old challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren could be the first to push the Brazilian to his limits.
Fernandes came into the bout looking to extend his win streak to 12 against McLaren, who had proven himself in high-profile impressive victories over Mark Striegl and Muin Gafurov. What ensued was an absolute classic, and one of the most defining moments in the career of a proud champion.
McLaren, also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, would go toe-to-toe with Fernandes on the mat, more than holding his own. On the feet, McLaren was quick and accurate. Fernandes had never before experienced this sort of adversity in the promotion.
Midway through the fight, McLaren connected on a stunning combination, rocking Fernandes and breaking the Brazilian’s nose. The sequence had Fernandes reeling to the cage fence, as it soon became evident the champion had difficulty breathing due to the injury.
As they say, you should never underestimate the heart of a champion. Fernandes dug deep, showed his true championship mettle, and put on a dominant performance the rest of the way. In the end, Fernandes retained his title via split decision, despite a strong showing from McLaren.
It was Fernandes’ toughest test to date, and one that he passed with flying colors.
Versus Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon At ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (CHANGSHA), January 2016
Kevin Belingon was supposed to be the one who would push Fernandes to the limit. The Team Lakay striking ace is fast and extremely powerful. Not many fighters have been able to withstand Belingon’s knockout power.
He’s nicknamed “The Silencer” for a reason, and that’s because Belingon downs opponents abruptly, defeating them with highlight-reel finishes. Every strike Belingon throws has the potential to score a stoppage.
However, Fernandes, whose advantage almost always lies on the mat due to his exceptional Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, was expected to get the fight to the ground as fast as possible. Within minutes of the first round, Fernandes accomplished just that.
Belingon didn’t even have enough time to mount any meaningful offense. On the ground, the gap in grappling ability showed, as Fernandes spun a web of mastery. With less than a minute left in round one, Fernandes worked Belingon into a deep kimura that left the Filipino warrior with no choice but to tap out.
Versus Toni “Dynamite” Tauru At ONE: KINGDOM OF WARRIORS, July 2015
Toni Tauru joined ONE Championship as a Finnish bantamweight sensation. One of the most promising talents to come out of Finland, Tauru was terrorising Europe with his grappling ability. At that the time, Tauru had 10 straight victories, including seven submissions in a row that earned him the Cage Warriors bantamweight title.
Unfortunately, Tauru’s ONE Championship debut was not going to go well. Tauru had the tough task of making his first appearance inside the ONE Championship cage against Bibiano Fernandes for the belt.
It was billed as a high-level battle on the mats, and fans expected a cerebral affair with both fighters hunting for the submission. What transpired in the cage, however, came completely out of left field.
After testing Tauru’s grappling ability for over two rounds, Fernandes had had enough. In the third stanza, Fernandes uncorked a three-punch combination that left Tauru dazed on the mat for his first-ever knockout win.
Versus Dae Hwan Kim At ONE: WARRIOR’S WAY, December 2014
Dae Hwan Kim was young, undefeated, and one of the top prospects to come out of Seoul, South Korea. He was 10-0 when he stepped inside the ONE Championship cage opposite reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Fernandes, having just defeated Kevin Belingon by first-round submission to earn his title shot.
Kim is the complete package. He’s fast and crisp on his feet, and dangerous on the ground from all angles. He had easily handled every other fighter who had stepped into the cage with him up to that point, and was riding a wave of momentum going into his title shot.
Fernandes was in no mood to relinquish his title, however, and just did not allow Kim to establish himself at all in their bout. He stopped Kim in his tracks at every instance, dominating both the striking and grappling exchanges. In the end, it was a masterful performance from the Brazilian, and a learning experience for the Korean.