ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is on fire.
The Team Lakay representative has impressed global martial arts fans with his most recent performances – a string of six wins since 2016, which has earned him a second shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Brazil’s Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
These two rivals are scheduled to unify the belts in a rematch at ONE: HEART OF THE LION on Friday, 9 November in Singapore, and it is one of the most anticipated contests in ONE Championship history.
Can Kevin ' The Silencer' Belingon beat ONE's most dominant World Champion ever?Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, October 18, 2018
“I’ve waited a long time for this moment, ever since I lost to Bibiano the first time. This is without a doubt the most important match of my career,” the 31-year-old states.
“It’s a World Champion going up against another World Champion. Anytime you have two guys who both have belts fighting each other, you know it’s going to be epic.
“To be able to unify these titles and to do it with Bibiano is both an honor and a challenge that I will rise to face.”
When Belingon was submitted in the opening round of his first encounter with Fernandes in January 2016, it lit a fire beneath him and pushed him to work harder to get back into title contention.
A victory over Muin “Tajik” Gafurov in October 2016 was the catalyst that launched his charge through the bantamweight division, which saw him dominate high-caliber opponents in Toni Tauru, Reece McLaren, Kevin Chung, and Andrew Leone over a two-year span.
Will Kevin ' The Silencer' Belingon land his famous spinning back kick on Bibiano Fernandes? Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, October 14, 2018
“The Silencer” had done enough to earn another shot at Fernandes, but instead of waiting for “The Flash” to heal his injuries, he took on then-ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title.
His unanimous decision win at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in July cemented the Filipino as the man to challenge the Brazilian in an attempt to unify the belts.
“I didn’t have to fight Martin the last time. My title fight against Bibiano was already guaranteed then, but I wanted to prove to the world that I never back down from any challenge and that I always rise to the occasion,” Belingon explains.
“Claiming the interim title has been one of the most important highlights of my career. The only thing that can beat that now is if I am able to successfully unify the titles. That’s priority number one for me, and I am laser-focused on making that happen.”
When the Baguio City, Philippines native first met Fernandes, he was unable to showcase his hand speed and kicking power. Almost as soon as the bell rang, “The Flash” took Belingon to the mat where he owned the advantage with his black-belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu ability.
A wrenching kimura armlock would follow shortly thereafter, and he would tap in the opening round.
Kevin ' The Silencer' Belingon overcame a heartbreaking tragedy on his climb to the top. Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, October 22, 2018
It is a memory that has haunted “The Silencer” and his head coach at Team Lakay, Mark Sangiao, ever since, but they have used the painful taste of defeat to fuel a remarkable run over the past two and a half years.
“I admit, when we first fought Bibiano, Kevin was still a little green,” Sangiao says.
“But we used that loss to find out where Kevin needed to improve the most, and now he is a completely different animal. You don’t want to give Kevin any opening, because he will close the distance abruptly and finish you.”
The most startling improvement in Belingon’s overall game has been his incredible takedown defense. The wushu stylist realized he was at a disadvantage on the ground against grapplers, so he took strides to upgrade his wrestling skills – particularly when it came to stopping takedowns.
Now he is able to keep most bouts standing, and he is free to unleash his aggression and power to threaten with some of the best striking in the business.
The most important match of Kevin ' The Silencer' Belingon's life goes down on 9 November!Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, October 11, 2018
That should make this World Champion versus World Champion rematch quite different from their initial encounter nearly three years ago.
“I think this time around, things will be different because I am more prepared for what he brings to the table,” Belingon says.
“I am ready to take this belt and bring it back home to Baguio City. I have complete respect for Bibiano as a man and as a martial artist, but it’s my time to shine.
“I am confident in my abilities, and I want to put on a show in Singapore. Although I will fight intelligently, make no mistake, I am gunning for the finish and I won’t hesitate to take it if I see an opening.”