Hard-hitting Filipino dynamo Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is in deep training for his second encounter against reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
Both men are set to collide in the co-main event of ONE: HEART OF THE LION, which takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 November.
The 30-year-old Baguio City resident fell short in his first attempt to snatch Fernandes’ world title in January 2016 after he was submitted in the opening round with a wrenching Kimura lock.
Belingon worked his way back to the top since that fateful night as he is currently riding a six-bout winning streak against top-tier competition.
In his most recent outing, Belingon defeated two-division champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight Title.
Unlike Nguyen, however, Fernandes is considered a much more dangerous foe on the ground, making the entire of Team Lakay work together to improve Belingon’s grappling before the rematch.
“Training is going really well. I have the entire team with me on this as I work on my wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. What we do is go down from the mountains to train with Coach John Baylon. We do the basics, gather what we can use in actual bouts, and then go back to Baguio to do it all over again. We trim down what can be used for our contests and what not,” he said.
“It’s so hard to roll with Coach John. He’s difficult to control, and his technique is on another level. Despite his age, he’s very strong and is very flexible. We, at Team Lakay, would usually get submitted by Coach John. Other than that, Eduard Folayang has also brought in new techniques he learned from his training camp in the US,” Belingon added.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang is one of Belingon’s high-profile training partners in fine-tuning his ground game against the longtime kingpin of the 65.8-kilogram weight class.
Despite the team being composed of mostly white belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Folayang bared that they have built a system which has a practical and effective use when it comes to mixed martial arts.
“We focus on No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu and its practical uses in mixed martial arts. The American approach to grappling is a bit different. It is about going to a dominant position and not forcing to secure a submission. What I learned is to get to a dominant position and then score from there,” Folayang explained.
“I think we have a good grappling base in Wushu. That is a huge factor because in Wushu. you do takedowns with a pair of gloves. Another factor is we now have the confidence that even if we go to the ground, we do not worry about getting easily submitted,” the former lightweight titleholder continued.
Team Lakay’s head coach Mark Sangiao, meanwhile, believes that his valued pupil is presently a much more complete martial artist compared to his first encounter with Fernandes.
“We all know that Bibiano is very good on the ground. We are preparing for that, and we are looking for high-level training partners that Kevin can roll with. Our base is Wushu, which has takedowns and striking, but we lack in grappling,” Sangiao stated.
“Our fighters’ skill set is complete now. Jiu-Jitsu has the same techniques, but in a mixed martial arts contest, some of its techniques would work and some of it would not. What we did is pick what we can apply and what we cannot in actual bouts,” the Team Lakay headmaster expounded further.
As their own blueprint to topple a versatile foe like Fernandes remains a top secret, the only information that Sangiao can give is that Belingon’s mindset is extremely determined to walk out of the cage as the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
“He’s very motivated. He wants to be the one true king of the bantamweight division. He will do everything just to win,” he ended.