With less than a month to go before the highly-anticipated rematch between Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of the Philippines, the latter’s teammates have high hopes that the Filipino dynamo will walk away with his hand raised in triumph.
Belingon squares off with Fernandes for the second time in a world title unification contest at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, which takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 9 November.
Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, the newly-crowned ONE Strawweight World Champion, explained that Belingon’s first-round submission setback to Fernandes in January 2016 served as a wake-up call for the 30-year-old resident of Baguio City, Philippines, prompting him to fill in the gaps of his skill set.
“From the day that he lost to a great champion like Bibiano, I have seen Kevin’s desire to learn more and improve. We feel his hunger to unify the world titles in training. Kevin is now a complete fighter, and I’m definitely sure that he will get the victory,” Pacio shared.
Since yielding to Fernandes over two years ago, Belingon steamrolled six top contenders in ONE Championship’s talent-filled 65.8-kilogram weight class, including a dominant victory over Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen to become the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion last July.
Former flyweight title contender Danny “The King” Kingad admired Belingon’s determination and dedication to transform himself into a more well-rounded competitor at this point of his professional career.
“Kevin’s will to learn and grow as a fighter is what most of us at Team Lakay admire. His dedication gives us a lot of inspiration to train hard every single day. Kevin and Bibiano are both great athletes, but Kevin will definitely be the winner on November 9. In this fight, he is the more complete fighter,” Kingad stated.
Meanwhile, reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio believes that Belingon has the edge in the second encounter with Fernandes, comparing both men’s respective performances against Nguyen.
Belingon and Fernandes battled a similar opponent in Nguyen earlier this year, but it was the Filipino hard-hitter who performed spectacularly better against the two-division titleholder.
Fernandes had to overcome a spirited effort from Nguyen to win via razor-thin split decision this past March, while Belingon effortlessly picked the Vietnamese-Australian sensation apart to cruise to a unanimous decision victory four months later.
“Even though many see him as the underdog, I see him as the 2-to-1 favorite to win the rematch. His performance against Martin Nguyen in July is a testament that Kevin is a totally different martial artist today. So Bibiano should keep a watchful eye. Kevin is so dangerous,” Eustaquio said.
For ex-ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, settling the score with Fernandes fans the flames of Belingon’s ravening drive to finally snap the Brazilian’s remarkable 14-bout winning streak.
“The loss to Bibiano over two years ago was the motivating factor for him to improve as an athlete. He is capable of solving the problems that Bibiano will present in the rematch. I am 100 percent confident that Kevin will bring the belt back to the Philippines on 9th of November,” Folayang disclosed.