For the first time in ONE Championship’s history, a fourth match for the world title between Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes will take place at ONE: CENTURY PART II on October 13.
Belingon is eager to return to the iconic Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Japan, the place where he last lost his ONE Bantamweight World Title at ONE: A NEW ERA. “The Silencer” landed powerful strikes and defended well against the Brazilian, but as the bout went to the mats in the second round, Fernandes was unable to continue after receiving an accidental blow to the back of his head. The unintentional blow warranted a red card from the referee, forcing Belingon to surrender his golden strap.
“We were dismayed by that decision because we didn’t expect the DQ. When I hit the head with an elbow, it wasn’t intentional,” Belingon said. “The last fight with Bibi, during the first and second round, I know I was winning. And then the illegal elbow came, which wasn’t intentional, they gave me a DQ.”
With Fernandes unsatisfied with how he got the title back, ONE Championship CEO and founder Chatri Sityodtong announced an automatic rematch. Belingon immediately went back to the gym upon hearing the news to work on his mistakes. He believes there’s little that needs changing and just needs to find an alternative if a similar situation happens again.
“Our training camp is getting better and better. Our condition and training are going 100 percent in striking, in grappling, and wrestling,” Belingon said. “Our tactics have not changed. We are focused on our game plan for this fight.”
The Filipino has done great in the striking department in his last two encounters with Fernandes. Right now, he is content with his Wushu and is focusing on his ground skills to give him options to either escape or attack his opponent.
“Maybe he thinks that I will strike him again in his body, that’s why I’m thinking he is preparing for it. That’s why we are finding ways that we can hit or hurt his body,” he added. “I think he will be more aggressive in this match. I think he will go try to take me down on this match. Of course, I’m preparing for his attempts, especially in wrestling and grappling,” Belingon said.
“Well, I’m still excited for this match against Bibi because I really want to get the World Title – that is our main goal.”
With less than a month to go before the biggest bout of his career, Belingon is feeling confident and optimistic, knowing that having the right mindset can lead him closer to his goals. In the meantime, “The Silencer” is only focused on reclaiming the title to become the undisputed champion in the bantamweight division.
“Every time I go to a fight, my confidence is still 100 percent because that is still the key to victory. If you don’t have confidence in the fight, you won’t win,” Belingon said.
“That’s why for me, my mentality for my last match – and even my fights before – is still the same mentality I carry for this match. It’s hard for me to say how I’ll finish the fight, but I will try to finish with a knockout if I have an opportunity,” he concluded.
“I will make sure that I will win so there’s no reason for us to have a fifth match.”