MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) star Kevin Belingon is expecting one of the most difficult challenges of his career when he faces John "Hands of Stone" Lineker of Brazil in the main event of ONE: Inside the Matrix III.
The pre-recorded event will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and will be aired on Friday, November 13.
The 33-year-old Belingon, the top contender for the ONE Bantamweight world title, said he knows better than to take Lineker lightly, given the Brazilian's reputation as a finisher. He has been working with Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao in crafting a game plan, as they ponder Lineker's strengths and weaknesses.
"John Lineker is one of the toughest fighters I will ever face. He's not an opponent to be taken lightly. He's got a lot of experience, and a lot of power in his hands, which is why he is known to end fights early," Belingon noted.
"We have watched his previous fights, and we're confident we can come up with the right game plan for what he brings to the table," he added.
"I have to win this fight to prove that I deserve to stay as the number one contender."
The bout is expected to be a crowd-pleasing one, as the two fighters are both known for their exciting styles. They have a knockout ratio of above 40% in their wins, and appear equally matched on the ground.
Given this, Belingon said the bout might just finish early.
"You all know how I fight -- I fight moving forward," he said. "So this is going to be a very exciting match-up."
"I don't think this is going the distance, with the way we both attack," he predicted. "I want to put on a good show for the fans."
Belingon believes a victory over Lineker will put him in a good position to challenge for the bantamweight belt. The "Silencer" has been training for the past few months in Baguio City, despite quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, he welcomed his daughter Kelsey, to the world.
"I've prepared the same way, just like I have prepared for my previous fights," he said. "I never underestimate any of my opponents. That's not a good thing to do inside the Circle. Every fight is dangerous."