In the fifth ONE Championship bout of Andrew Leone, 28, of the United States, he will compete against Kevin “The Silence” Belingon, 30, of the Philippines. Against a stand-up specialist like Belingon, there are clear areas where Leone sees that he has an advantage and will be looking to capitalize, including the exuberance of youth.
“I’m a lot younger,” Leone said. “I think I’m faster, I’ve got some good scrambling and I’m a little bit taller.”
“I’m going to get there in and just wrestle him,” Leone continued. “I see a lot of different positions coming up that I’m going to take advantage of and come out on top.”
Both Leone and Belingon have challenged reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, 37, of Brazil. But until now, the Brazilian champ has yet to be defeated inside the ONE Championship cage.
“I heard Kevin Belingon was supposed to be next in line for the title, but the promotion had other plans,” Leone said. “Winning the title is my happy ending in this journey. If I win this, I know I will be in a great position to face Bibiano for the title again.”
According to Leone, his warpath back to the ONE Bantamweight World Championship picture commences on April 20, 2018 when he and Belingon headline “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. He said, “A win in this match will definitely put me in line for a rematch against Bibiano.”
“I want that title shot again,” Leone added. “If Kevin Belingon is blocking my way to earn that spot, I have to take him out. I will give everything I’ve got.”
Before losing to Fernandes, Leone enjoyed a three-fight winning streak. He defeated Belingon’s fellow Team Lakay fighter Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 28, as well as Japanese fighters Shinichi “BJ: Kojima, 39, and Koetsu Okazaki, 38.
Fernandes submitted Leone via rear-naked choke in the first round at “ONE: Kings and Conquerors” on August 5, 2017. Here is a clip from the bout: