Kevin Belingon knows that he can’t beat reigning ONE bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes by striking alone.
He found this out when he first challenged Fernandes more than two years ago.
“When I first fought Bibiano, it was a realization for me. I was confident that my striking would pose problems for him, but I was shocked that I wasn’t able to hit him with a clean punch,” the “Silencer” said in ONE Championship’s official website.
Fernandes is a highly decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter who competed in the world championships at least 6 times. He submitted Belingon via kimura a minute before the end of the first round.
“His grappling and defense were levels above what I expected, and as a result, I was beaten rather easily,” Belingon said.
“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.”
This forced Belingon to put more work on improving his grappling, particularly the way he defends himself on the mat.
His efforts has paid dividends.
Two years and 6 victories later, he secured a rematch against Fernandes. He will battle the Brazilian champion in the co-main event of ONE: Heart of the Lion on November 8 in Singapore.
Belingon said he doesn’t plan to make the same mistake in their second faceoff.
“I don’t plan on just standing there and letting him dictate the pace. I’ll fight with fury, and this time, I will connect,” he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)