Now, he gets a firsthand look at what the hype is all about.
The #1-ranked bantamweight contender will battle #5-ranked Lineker in the action-packed main event of ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III, a previously recorded show from the Singapore Indoor Stadium that will air to the public on Friday, 13 November.
This is a matchup that fans began salivating over when “Hands Of Stone” sailed east to compete in The Home Of Martial Arts. For his part, Belingon promises not to disappoint.
“Ever since John Lineker signed with ONE, all I’ve been hearing and reading from the fans is Belingon versus Lineker,” the 33-year-old Filipino says. “Now it’s finally here, and I’m excited for it. Expect fireworks. Expect it to be a good one.”
Indeed, this is a battle between two of the heaviest hitters in the bantamweight division.
Belingon has racked up the most knockouts and finishes in ONE bantamweight history (six), and these two main event stars have combined for an incredible 22 knockouts in their careers.
While some athletes might cook up something different to throw their foe off-guard, the man from Kiangan, Ifugao, has no plans to change course.
“One look, and it’s easy to see that we’re both hard hitters, and that’s the reason why this matchup is so exciting,” Belingon says.
“It will be very interesting given our styles and I plan to keep it that way,” he adds. “At the end of the day, I hope to get my hands raised.”
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But while these fighters take similar approaches, the Filipino thinks he has the tools to edge out the American Top Team representative.
“I believe I’m quicker than him,” Belingon says. “I think I’m more agile and have better endurance – those are just some of the advantages that I believe I have in this match.”
Belingon also notes that he’s been determined to remain prepared for this fight despite all the uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I thought we were able to adjust well and adapt to the changes that the pandemic brought. That’s why I believe I’m in good shape,” the Team Lakay veteran shares.
“We’ve been preparing at home, making the most out of the limitations, just to make sure we were in good condition once we started our camp for this.”
At the end of the day, Belingon is not a man who throws around hot takes and confident predictions.
However, he speaks for the things he can control – and come Friday, he plans to put the pedal to the metal as he aims for another crack at longtime rival and reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
“I don’t like predicting things because, in a fight, we can never really tell,” the Filipino says. “But make no mistake about it – I’ll go for the knockout if the opportunity presents itself.”