Belingon ends 8-year reign of Fernandes

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon came up with an impressive display of defensive wizardry throughout the entire five rounds to outlast defending champion Bibiano Fernandes and become the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion last night, November 9, 2018.

 

Belingon dispatched Fernandes via a close split decision victory in the main event of ONE: HEART OF THE LION in Singapore.

The win ends the long reign of Fernandes, who is considered by ONE as the most dominant champion the promotion has ever seen. Before the fight, Fernandes was undefeated since 2010.

Belingon now becomes the third Team Lakay fighter to hold a ONE world title, fourth if including Stephen Loman who has a Brave Combat Federation title.

It is also a revenge of the earlier loss he suffered, a first round submission, when both men shared the cage the first time at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS, in Changsha, China on January 2016 where Fernandes retained his title.

Action went back and forth during the grueling five-round affair where Fernandes would initially take down Belingon to the canvass and execute submission attempts after which Belingon would get out of the holds and deliver devastating blows to even the round.

Here’s how I would have scored it:

Round 1

Both fighters started sizing up each other. Belingon connects a spinning kick. Fernandes delivers a low blow to the groin area, Belingon takes mandatory rest period. Fernandes takes down Belingon on 3:05 mark. Belingon defended properly against any moves and powers out of the grip at 1:44 mark. Belingon delivers two more spinning kicks before the round ends. Could go either way but probably a Fernandes round.

Round 2

Belingon misfires on a spinning kick early in the round and suffers another takedown at the 4:34 mark. Belingon defended well again, preventing Fernandes to take a dominant position and control of the ground action and power out of the hold at the 3:04 mark.

Belingon misses targets on a spinning fist and a spinning kick. Fernandes takes Belingon down again at 1:25 mark and attempts a rear-naked choke and two arm bars in succession which Belingon defended well.

Belingon reverses the third submission attempt to take control of the ground action and rain lefts and rights to Fernandes’ face as the round ends. Could go either way again but probably a Belingon round due to the last minute onrush.

Round 3

Belingon connects a spinning kick early in the round. Both fighters exchanged strikes until Fernandes takes down Belingon at the 1:26 mark. Belingon defended well but Fernandes finished the round at the dominant position. Clearly a Fernandes round.

 Round 4

Two Belingon kicks connect. Fernandes counters with a right. Fernandes now stalking Belingon and dodges a spinning back fist. Fernandes again takes down Belingon at the 3:27 mark and Belingon pretty defends well as usual. Belingon again attempts to power his way out while Fernandes failed to convert the position to an armbar.

Both are back to their feet at 1:47 mark, with Fernandes stalking Belingon once again. Clearly a Fernandes round until this point.

Uneventful sequences followed, with both men throwing mostly light hits, until Belingon capitalized an opening at the 12-second mark.

After Fernandes connects a low kick, Belingon countered with a short, crisp right cross that brought Fernandes to the canvass. Belingon follows it up with right-left combinations even after  Fernandes scampers to get back on his feet.

Belingon steals the round. It anybody’s game now.

Round 5

Both men exchanged low kicks to start the round. Belingon connects a spinning kick at 4:38 mark, a low kick at 4:28 mark, and a left and right straight at 4:10 mark. Both men exchanged low kicks. Fernandes attempts a takedown only to be hit by a left cross, 4:00 minutes to go.

Both men traded light blows before Belingon sneaks in a spinning kick. Belingon is not giving Fernandes any opening to take him down. Both men again traded light blows, 2:00 minutes to go in the fight.

Belingon connects another spinning kick and breaks out of a takedown counter by Fernandes. Fernandes connects a kick to the leg. Fernandes connects three leg kicks during next sequences where both men again traded hits.

Belingon connects another spinning kick 20 seconds left in the fight and dances away from any trouble as the seconds tick away.

Belingon round for controlling the action and inflicting the heavier damage.

Final verdict

So, when I would look at the entire fight, I would give Fernandes edge in the near KO or submission criteria but Belingon the edge for Damage, Earned takedowns or takedown defense (Fernandes did gain a real advantage by taking Belingon down while Belingon’s takedown defense was really, really superb), and Aggression. The striking combinations and cage generalship is somewhat even.

That’s why Belingon wins the bout for me. Rounds 2 and 4 will hand Belingon the damage criteria.

Nevertheless, the decision should be really close and could go either way.

Note: In a ONE bout that goes the distance, the three judges will score the bout in its entirety, not round-by-round. Judges will utilize the ONE judging criteria in descending order of importance to determine the winner of the bout, which are:

(1) Near KO or Submission; (2) Damage (Internal, Accumulated, Superficial); (3) Striking combinations and cage generalship (Ground control, Superior positioning); (4) Earned takedowns or takedown defense; and (5) Aggression.

It was indeed a perfect match between probably the current top grappler and the most explosive striker of the promotion.

Fans would no doubt got the worth of their staying late to watch this match that was almost finished close to midnight in the Cordilleras.

Belingon hikes his career record to 20-5 while giving Fernandes his 4th defeat against 22 wins.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

 

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