Filipino spitfire Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is living the dream after he successfully dethroned Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes to be hailed as the one and only king of ONE Championship’s stacked bantamweight division.
Belingon utilized his explosive strikes and improved grappling to overcome Fernandes en route to a razor-thin split decision win in the main event of ONE: HEART OF THE LION last November.
The victory realized Belingon’s dream of becoming the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
“It really felt like a dream to me. We had worked so hard to reach that point. It didn’t sink in at first, but when it did, I felt accomplished,” he shared.
Despite having his hand raised in triumph at the expense of perhaps the most dominant champion in the history of the promotion, it came with a hefty price as he had the scars and bruises to prove it as soon as the bout was over.
“I was pretty banged up. My foot was swollen from all the kicks that I landed,” The Team Lakay representative revealed. “I really poured everything I had into that one, and my team and I came up with a brilliant game plan. I think that was the key to victory.”
Belingon’s hard-earned victory over Fernandes was his second attempt to capture a world title as two years prior, he fell short in his bid to become the ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
In January 2016, the Brazilian legend made “The Silencer” tap by way of submission in the opening round at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS in Changsha, China.
Belingon had to work his way back up the ladder, defeating six top-tier opponents to secure a rematch with Fernandes.
With the latest cage meeting with Fernandes being a close one, Belingon stressed that he is more than willing to give his arch-nemesis a shot at his gold-plated strap.
“We are tied at one win apiece, so a third bout to determine the true winner does make sense. I know he is clamoring for a rematch,” he stated. “I know he thinks he won the last one, so deep inside, I want to prove to him again that I beat him.”
Belingon knows all too well that aside from Fernandes, a horde of battle-tested martial artists are also coming for his intricately-crafted hardware.
“I’m just enjoying the time off right now. But of course, I’m open to fighting Bibiano again, or anyone that ONE Championship puts in front of me,” he affirmed.
However, if Belingon will be given the option to choose an opponent, a rubber match against Fernandes is clearly the obvious choice for the Baguio City-based knockout artist.
“Our second bout was an exciting match,” he quipped. “We can do it again. The fans will love it.”