The World Champion athletes faced each other for the third time on Sunday, 31 March at ONE: A NEW ERA, but the match-up came to an unsatisfactory end when Belingon committed an accidental foul in the third round.
His opponent could not continue, so the Team Lakay star was given a red card by referee Olivier Coste and disqualified from the contest.
That result meant Fernandes left the Ryogoku Kokugikan with the belt. However, at the post-event press conference, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed the Brazilian was not happy with the way he began his second World Title reign.
As a result, Sityodtong announced the two athletes would renew their rivalry again and compete towards a more satisfactory ending.
“There is going to be an automatic rematch,” said Sityodtong.
“Bibiano didn’t even want the belt under those sort of circumstances – Bibiano is a true World Champion in every sense of the word. It was an unfortunate back-of-the-head elbow. Bibiano was not able to continue, so we will see an automatic rematch.
“Bibiano is World Champion on a technicality, but again, he does not want to win it that way, and he wants a rematch. I’m sure Belingon doesn’t want to lose that way either.
“These are two warriors, two of the best martial artists in the world, so they deserve another shot to see who’s the best.”
Shortly after that announcement, Belingon arrived to address the media.
“First of all, I would like to apologize for what happened. I didn’t mean [to commit a foul],” he said.
“I was very disappointed when they gave me the red card – I think I was winning the first and second round. I’ll go back to training and prepare for my next fight.”
At that moment, Sityodtong told the Filipino athlete he would have the chance to make amends against “The Flash” before he faced any other opponent, which was news he was grateful to hear.