NO. 1 rated bantamweight Kevin Belingon is itching for another crack at ONE Championship bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes. However, he has to take care of business against dangerous former UFC fighter John Lineker on Friday, November 13, in the main event of ONE: Inside the Matrix III at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“In my mind, the winner of this fight deserves a title shot. Kevin is the number one contender. If he beats another ranked opponent that will put him closer to a fifth bout with Bibiano,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao in a statement.
“We’ve been sharpening his skills and rebuilding his confidence. All the fights against Bibiano were tough. It helped Kevin improve a lot. Right now, we’re focused on John Lineker. He has very powerful hands, which is why he has earned the reputation and the nickname ‘Hands of Stone.’ It’s going to be his striking versus the Team Lakay striking; we’ll see who comes out on top,” he added.
The 33-year-old Belingon has been in four fights with Fernandes. He lost to Fernandes in their first fight in 2016. He, however, took away the ONE bantamweight belt with a split decision in 2018. Fernandes won the next two contests by stoppage in 2019.
Lineker had a successful debut in the ONE Championship on October 25, 2019 with a unanimous decision over Muin Gafurov. The 30-year-old Brazilian went 12-4 before being cut by the UFC last year.
Belingon is 20-7, while Lineker is 30-9.
Two other Team Lakay warriors are seeing action on the same card.
Former ONE flyweight titleholder Geje Eustaquio (13-8) looks shaken off the ring rust as he takes on surging Song Min Jong (11-7) in the event’s main supporting bout.
Eustaquio, one of Team Lakay’s elite names, has not fought for over a year but is coming off a huge knockout win over Toni Tauro.
Song, on the other hand, won his last four contests and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Kodai Murata in Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, earning him a contract in the ONE Championship.
Meanwhile, Lito Adiwang (11-2) is in for a tough test as he faces Shooto strawweight champion Hiroshi Minowa (11-2) in the event’s curtain raiser.
The 27-year-old Adiwang, who dedicates this fight to his gravely ill mother, is dead set on keeping his streak alive. He’s on a seven-fight winning streak and is coming off a first round kimura submission win over Pongsiri Mitsatit last January 31, 2020.
Minowa, 21, is making his ONE Championship debut after winning the Shooto strawweight crown with a rear-naked choke on Yohei Komaki last January 26, 2020.
Both fighters are lethal finishers. Adiwang’s wins all but one ended in either knockout or submission, while Minowa’s victories all ended by stoppage. (EKA)