Kevin Belingon ends Fernandes’ reign, becomes undisputed ONE bantamweight king
SINGAPORE — Kevin Belingon entered the cage only as the interim bantamweight champion and walked away as the undisputed bantamweight king.
The Filipino spitfire ended Bibiano Fernandes’ long reign on Friday night, beating the Brazilian legend by split decision in the main event of ONE: Heart of the Lion before a raucous crowd at Singapore Indoor Stadium here.
“I would like to thank God for this victory, my supporters and team. Bibiano is a very tough opponent and I respect him so much. I trained hard for this match and I think deserve this victory,” said Belingon.
Belingon joined the list of current Filipino and Team Lakay world champions along with flyweight titleholder Geje Eustaquio and strawweight king Joshua Pacio.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) November 9, 2018
It was the second time that Belingon and Fernandes fought and the rematch was nothing like their first bout two years ago when Fernandes submitted the Baguio City native in the opening round.
The 31-year-old Belingon had talked about his improved ground game and he showed it against a master grappler in Fernandes, who went for several armbar attempts in the second round but to no avail.
Belingon brought his own bag of tricks against the crafty Fernandes on the ground but his best moments came when they were in a striking match.
Belingon decked Fernandes with a counter right straight late in the third round. He also unleashed and connected on well-timed spinning back kicks that kept Fernandes guessing.
“We really trained hard for this especially on the ground and you’ve seen a while ago that my grappling has improved a lot compared to the last time we fought,” Belingon said.
Fernandes lost for the first time since 2011 while Belingon extended his winning streak to seven.
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