Reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, 38, of Brazil is currently recovering from an injury. When the most dominant champion in ONE Championship history finally returns, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30, of the Philippines will be right there waiting for his rematch.
“Until I beat Bibiano, I will always feel like there is unfinished business to take care of,” Belingon stated. Representing Team Lakay, he first shared the ONE Championship cage with Fernandes on January 23, 2016 at “ONE: Dynasty of Champions 5” at the Helong Stadium in Changsha, Hunan, China where the Brazilian champ submitted his Filipino challenger via kimura.
On July 27, 2018, Belingon became the new ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion by winning at “ONE: Reign of Kings” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Fernandes was in the audience during the fight night.
Fernandes joined Belingon in the cage during the newly crowned ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion’s post-fight interview. The Team Lakay fighter said he respects Fernandes as a champion.
“But we are in the same weight class and I am the top contender so there is no escape in facing me,” Belingon told Fernandes. “I hope you recover fast, and that we can make the fight this year.”
The loss to Fernandes did nothing but fuel Belingon’s world championship dreams even more. The road back to the championship picture was a long one for the Team Lakay fighter, who had to run through a gauntlet of former world title contenders and a two-division champion in a just under two years.
Belingon is currently riding six straight victories. In two years, he defeated Toni “Dynamite” Tauru, 33, of Finland, Reece “Lightning” McLaren, 26, of Australia, Kevin “Oldboy” Chung, 25, and Andrew Leone, 28, of the United States and ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 29, of Australia and Vietnam.
“I have faced many tough opponents leading up to this interim title, and I believe I have earned my spot to face Bibiano again,” Belingon said. Now, he has his sights firmly set on Fernandes and the ONE Bantamweight World Championship.
“I am looking forward to our rematch,” Belingon shared. “No more detours. Bibiano should be next, and I fully expect to be facing him soon.”
For now, Belingon will have to wait for Fernandes to be cleared to compete. In the meantime however, the Team Lakay fighter could use some time off as well to heal up before getting back to business.
Watch the bout between Belingon and Nguyen here: