Kevin Belingon does not have a perfect professional record. He’s suffered some devastating defeats, but the Filipino, who faces Bibiano Fernandes at ONE: Battle of the Lion on Friday, has managed to come back stronger after every loss.
He was submitted early in the opening round on his ONE Championship debut, but went on to establish himself as one of the best bantamweight fighters in the promotion’s history. He lost to Fernandes in 2016, but bounced back to win his next six fights.
Belingon is certainly a believer in learning from his losses. They’ve been few and far between, his record currently stands at 19-5, but the defeat to Fernandes was a watershed moment in his career.
“His grappling and defense were levels above what I expected, and as a result, I was beaten rather easily. It was at that moment that I realized just how big the gap was between us. I was standing across a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but I didn’t understand what that meant.”
Belingon challenges Fernandes for the second time in the headline bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium this week. The first fight taught him a valuable lesson and he promises to be much better prepared for the rematch.
“After the fight, I knew I had to work on my grappling if I wanted to challenge him again someday. Now, we’re here. The rematch with Bibiano is finally happening, and I can show him just how much I have improved since our first meeting,” he says.
Belingon has some devastating wushu style striking. He’s particularly dangerous with spinning back kicks and warns Fernandes that he’s not going to have things all his own way in the rematch.
“In many ways, Bibiano is still the dangerous black belt, and I have to be careful. But this time, if he wants to take me down, he’ll have to walk through fire to get close to me.
The fight has been elevated to main event status after Angela Lee’s withdrawal. It will be the first time Belingon has ever headlined an event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and he’s looking to leave a lasting impression.
“I’m definitely looking to put on a show and get the finish for my team, my family, and my country.”
Kevin Belingon’s ONE Championship Highlights
(Courtesy of ONE Championship)