Stephen Loman’s next bout is the biggest test of his MMA career so far, and it could also earn him the biggest reward.
And if the #5-ranked bantamweight can take out the division’s former king, he’ll undoubtedly enter the World Title conversation.
Loman has wanted this matchup with Fernandes ever since he signed with ONE Championship last year, and he earned the opportunity with back-to-back wins against elite opponents inside the Circle
Now riding a sensational 10-fight winning streak overall, the Filipino can’t wait to square off with an all-time great at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“I’m really very happy that I will actually get a chance to face [Fernandes] this November. This is my chance to show the results of all the training I have been going through. I’m excited for that fight.
“In the past, I thought I was going to be matched up with him, but that didn’t happen. So for sure, my excitement for that match is still there.”
Fernandes has won a record-breaking 11 ONE World Title contests, but he lost the bantamweight crown to John Lineker in his last outing this past March.
The throne is now vacant after #2-ranked Lineker missed weight for his first defense and then battled to a no contest with #1-ranked Fabricio Andrade, while Fernandes currently occupies the #3 contender spot.
But no matter who sits above him, Loman knows a victory over “The Flash” would be a massive step toward the ultimate prize.
“I believe that winning this will give me a chance to contend for a World Title in ONE, which would be another goal to reach. I’m determined to face all these ranked opponents so that I can prove myself worthy to challenge for that World Championship.
“I really need to win against Bibiano first because we know that he’s not an ordinary fighter.”
Loman Thinks Conditioning Will Be Key Factor Against Fernandes
At 30 years old, Stephen Loman will be 12 years younger than Bibiano Fernandes when they face off at ONE on Prime Video 4, and he expects that difference to be one of his advantages.
Moreover, he’s been receiving some insider information from senior Team Lakay stablemate Kevin Belingon, who went 1-3 against “The Flash” in four iconic ONE Bantamweight World Title fights.
That relationship and history are giving Loman some extra knowledge and motivation ahead of his own date with Fernandes.
“The Sniper” said:
“He’s the guy who defeated kuya Kevin [Belingon], so I want to face him to see where my level is at right now.
“When [Belingon] learned about my upcoming fight, he told me that I can beat Bibiano because he’s old already. Kidding aside, I think it will be a factor because he’s already 42 years old.”
Of course, Loman is not looking past Fernandes.
“The Flash” proved he’s still dangerous by dropping John Lineker in their World Title showdown, and his BJJ black belt skills have never been in question.
On the other side, “The Sniper” is known as a fearsome striker. He’s planning to weather an early storm and try to keep the fight in his own domain as much as possible en route to a career-best victory.
“I believe his explosiveness will still be there. We saw it in his fight against Lineker as he was able to knock him down. I’m not underestimating his strength and striking, especially in the first round.
“In the second round, I think he lies low and doesn’t show much of his strength. But overall, I fully expect him to still have his strength, especially on the ground.
“I expect that he will try to take the fight to the ground, but if I can assert my game, it will be a striking battle.”
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