“The Terminator” Sunoto has kept a relatively low profile over the past several months, but now, the Indonesian mixed martial artist is ready to return – and has a certain bantamweight star in his sights.
“What I really want is to face Kevin Belingon,” the 36-year-old says.
“I would like to meet a World Champion if I am going into the Circle, but this is more realistic. If I fight Kevin and win, it would elevate my name.”
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, a former ONE Bantamweight World Champion, is still one of the division’s leading men.
The Filipino, who currently holds the #2 contender spot in ONE’s Athlete Rankings, is regarded for his devastating stand-up arsenal, enormous knockout power, and incredible speed.
That skill set has carried Belingon to 20 career victories, including wins over reigning bantamweight king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, former two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, and top-five flyweight contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren.
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Like millions of fans across the world, Sunoto has enjoyed watching “The Silencer” participate in those epic battles on the global stage.
But while he would like to raise his profile against the Filipino, he’s also wary of facing an athlete with Belingon’s ultra-aggressive mindset.
“Personally, I just love seeing him in action. He’s so explosive,” the Indonesian says.
“At the same time, I don’t actually favor that style of attacking, one that unloads a lot of attacks. What I like is a technical fighter.
“I don’t really like to meet a person who rushes to attack, the brawler kind. Why? Because at some point, it would also trigger me. When facing a brawler, I often get lured into their game plan. It is different when you meet someone who has a high fight IQ, where you will trade tactics and manage your breathing better. You will definitely get lured in when you’re facing brawlers.”
As a World Karate Federation Indonesia Champion, Sunoto certainly posseses the ability to stand and trade with the division’s best strikers.
But in recent years, “The Terminator” has truly showcased his grappling repertoire. The East Java native holds a brown belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and spent time on the country’s national sambo team, and he’s brilliantly implemented those techniques into his overall game.
Should he ever meet Belingon inside the Circle, Sunoto would surely utilize his 10-centimeter height advantage, strike from the outside, and bring the action to the canvas if an opportunity presents itself.
“I would definitely maintain my distance because I understand that his range is shorter,” the Indonesian says.
“Kevin also has a style that is more counter-striking, most similar to [his teammate] Lito Adiwang, but I’ve seen more offense and aggressiveness in Lito. Don’t get me wrong – Kevin is aggressive, but he’s more explosive in counter-attacks.
“If I can get my takedown, I’ll take it, but it is harder to execute takedowns with shorter opponents because they have a more solid posture. So, I must definitely rely on momentum.”
As Sunoto recognizes, a win over Belingon would undoubtedly transform his career and catapult him into the official rankings.
But there would be even more at stake – an opportunity to avenge a prior loss and lift his nation’s mixed martial arts community to new heights.
Back in December 2016, Sunoto engaged in a competitive battle with Belingon’s Team Lakay stablemate Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly. Both men were strategic during the featherweight encounter, but the Filipino ultimately stunned his rival with a knee to the head and rained down punches to clinch the third-round TKO victory.
Because “The Terminator” now competes at bantamweight, it doesn’t make sense for him to move up a division to rematch Kelly. That said, he would get just as much satisfaction – if not more – from defeating one of the Baguio City camp’s former World Champions.
“[If I beat Belingon], it is redemption and proof that Indonesia is capable of beating Team Lakay,” Sunoto adds.
It remains to be seen who would come out on top, but if “The Terminator” has his way, fans will find out in the near future.