Belingon targets Fernandes rematch
KEVIN Belingon may be battling Finland’s Toni “Dynamite” Tauru at ONE: Kings of Destiny at the Mall of Asia Arena on April 21 but ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes will not be far from his mind.
Fernandes crushed Belingon’s dream of becoming a world champion. Belingon’s biggest moment as an MMA fighter came January 2016 when he challenged Fernandes for the coveted title at ONE: Dynasty of Champions. The fight didn’t go the way Belingon wanted after he was submitted by Fernandes with a kimura right in the first round.
Belingon, one of the leading lights of Team Lakay, wants an impressive victory over Tauru that will catapult him back to relevance in the bantamweight division and a rematch with Fernandes.
While the Filipino prefers to display his striking finesse and get the knockout, he is prepared for every situation against Tauru.
“I will try to keep the fight standing up. But if we go to the ground, I will not hesitate to grapple with him and submit him,” said Belingon.
Belingon’s desire to keep the fight standing is not the least bit surprising. After all, the former Filipino MMA flyweight champion is a wushu-based fighter, who has been working with Mark Sangiao ever since he attended the University of the Cordilleras more than a decade ago.
The two developed a close bond, and ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang further cultivated Belingon’s talent during those formative years.
Upon receiving his Bachelor Of Science in Criminology, “The Silencer” gravitated more towards the martial arts than law enforcement. That led him to Team Lakay MMA, where he has maintained a steady presence ever since the gym opened its doors in 2006.
“Before Team Lakay was formally introduced, I was already a member of the team. I was one of the first fighters at Team Lakay,” said Belingon with visible pride.
Ever since making his professional MMA debut in 2007, the Team Lakay elder has accumulated a respectable 14-5 record, with five wins coming via TKO and three more via submission.
Following his loss to Fernandes, Belingon took several months off before re-emerging last October at ONE: State of Warriors, where he handed rising star Muin Gaforov his second professional loss.
Despite getting the unanimous decision victory, “The Silencer” believes he could have done much better.
“I was not impressed with my performance last time because I did not show much action. But I am still happy because I was able to get the win,” he said.
Belingon wants a more impressive performance this time around, but Tauru has a renewed vigor and is trying to climb the ranks, too.
The 32-year-old Tauru is a Vale Tudo specialist who holds an 11-4-1 professional record with eight of those wins coming via submission. A former CWFC Bantamweight Champion, the man called “Dynamite” recently bounced back from a three-fight skid at ONE: Age of Domination last December when he tapped out Belingon’s teammate, Geje Eustaquio, with a rear-naked choke.
The Finnish dynamo made his promotional debut against Fernandes at ONE: Kingdom of Warriors in July 2015, and was knocked out in the third round.
Belingon watched Tauru’s fight with “The Flash” and believes he, much like the champ, possesses the power to knock Tauru out.