FORMER ONE bantamweight champion Kevin Belingon is in for a tough assignment in his return to ONE Championship cage as he takes on long-time UFC veteran John Lineker in ONE: “Inside the Matrix III” on Nov. 13 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
Belingon, the teammate of Filipino MMA legend Eduard Folayang at Team Lakay, dropped his last two contests in back-to-back world title fights against long-time rival and current ONE bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes.
Belingon, one of the longest tenured fighters in the ONE Championship, first fought Fernandes in 2016 and lost via a first round kimura submission. They had a rematch two years later in 2018, this time, Belingon got the better of Fernandes and walked away with a split decision to become the organization’s bantamweight champion.
Belingon faced Fernandes for the third and fourth time in 2019. He lost to Fernandes in both contests, the third fight via a third round stoppage and the fourth fight via a rear-naked choke.
It’s one of the most storied rivalries in the ONE Championship.
Belingon returns after a year of layoff against what should be one of the best bantamweights in the ONE Championship roster.
After 16 fights, the UFC cut the 30-year-old Lineker from its roster in 2019.
Lineker was immediately signed by the ONE Championship and had a successful debut with a unanimous decision over Muin Gafurov on Oct. 25, 2019.
Lineker went 12-4 in the UFC and fought the likes of John Dodson, TJ Dillashaw and Ian McCall.
The 33-year-old Belingon is currently rated No. 1 in the bantamweight division and has a 20-7 record, wherein eight of his wins are via knockout.
Lineker is ranked No. 5 even though he has just fought once in the ONE Championship. He is 32-9 and has devastating knockout power with 14 of his wins via stoppage.