Hailing from Cortland, New York, United States, Andrew Leone, 28, is competing in the ONE Championship cage for the fifth time. On April 20, 2018, he will headline “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines with hometown hero Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30.
“I love Asia,” Leone said. “I’ve been living and competing here for a very long time.”
Leone is brimming with eagerness to redeem himself as he kicks off his 2018 with a marquee match-up versus Belingon. The latter is a celebrated Filipino dynamo from Team Lakay of Baguio City.
The Cortland native is trains alongside some of the most talented combat sports athletes in Asia at the renowned Bali MMA gym in Bali, Indonesia. He is looking forward to redeem himself after his first loss in the ONE Championship cage in his most recent bout prior to “ONE: Heroes of Honor.”
On August 5, 2017, Leone challenged reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes, 34, of Brazil. The Brazilian champion submitted the American challenger via rear-naked choke in the first round.
Except Fernandes, all of Leone’s previous opponents in the ONE Championship cage are Asians. After his successful promotional debut, in which he defeated Belingon’s teammate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 28, the American fighter earned victory over two Japanese contenders Shinichi Kojima and Koetsu Okazaki.
“ONE: Heroes of Honor” will mark Leone’s fifth bout in the ONE Championship cage. It will also be his first time to fight in the Philippines.
“I’ve been to different countries and cities, including Manila,” Leone said. “Manila is a special place because it’s where I had my promotional debut for ONE Championship.”
“It’s great to have my first match for 2018 in Manila,” the former world title challenger quipped. “It feels like I’ve gone full circle.”
Competing as a professional mixed martial artist for eight years, Leone is a veteran who dynamically carved his niche in the Asian combat scene. He made waves in ONE Championship when he debuted in May 2013 with a victory over Eustaquio, who became the ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion in 2017.
It took Leone four arduous years to get a crack at ONE Championship’s prestigious bantamweight crown. Here is a clip featuring the American fighter: