“The Silencer” Seeks to Cement Claim to Title Opportunity
ONE Championship was six months old when Kevin Belingon first stepped inside its cage in 2012. That makes him one of the OG’s of Asia’s largest MMA promotion.
His journey is a series of ups and downs, facing a who’s who of ONE’s bantamweight division. To date, the highest point he’s reached was a championship bout against Bibiano Fernandes in January 2016, which unfortunately ended with a first round submission loss.
While “The Silencer” may have faltered against the champ, Belingon bounced back with three straight victories, including two KO wins over former title challengers in Toni Tauru and Reece McLaren.
The Lakay KO artist has long established that he belongs to the upper tier of ONE’s 135-lbs division, and when he finished McLaren in last August’s ONE: Quest for Greatness, a rematch with Fernandes seemed to be the next logical scenario.
Instead, he is set to face Korean-American Kevin Chung (4-0) at ONE: Legends of the World.
Interestingly, for a guy who once disputed for the bantamweight title, Belingon remains willing to man the gates, especially if it means him getting the opportunity to fight for the belt once again.
“Pagkatapos ng laban ko kay Reece, ‘yon ang nakikita ko – title shot ang ibibigay. Pero hindi naman,” Belingon confessed. “Pero walang problema doon kasi darating din naman yung opportunity na lalabanan ko yung champion kaya dapat manalo ako sa laban na ‘to. Para makalaban sa title shot.”
(After my fight with Reece, a title shot is what I foresaw. However, that wasn’t the case. But I got not problem with that because I know the opportunity to fight the champion will eventually come, that is why I need to win in this fight – to earn a title shot.)
The Lakay sniper added, “Kahit sino naman lalabanan ko para maging champion. Kahit sino ang ilagay nila, kakalabanin ko para lang makuha ang belt.”
(I will fight anybody just to become the champion. Whoever they place before me, I will fight just to get the belt.)
Despite the fact that it is only Chung’s second appearance in ONE, Belingon is not looking past his relatively less-experienced foe. If there is anything that his victory over McLaren has done, it was to fuel his fire.
“Siyempre nakadagdag sa confidence ko yung panalo ko kay Reece, kasi yung laban ni Reece at Bibiano pumunta sa five rounds. Kaya confident ako na kaya kong tapusin si Bibiano,” Belingon claimed.
(Certainly, my victory over Reece boosted my confidence, because Reece and Bibiano’s fight went the whole five rounds. That is why I’m confident that I can finish Bibiano this time.)
Belingon will march into Friday’s event bringing in his 16-5 record and three-fight win streak. He joins five other Filipino fighters in the ten-fight event, headlined by a title defense of his stablemate Eduard Folayang.
Dreau Lanot is an MMA journalist who wrote for Yahoo! Sports. He used to be a zombie – a very fast one! – for Outbreak Manila.
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