ONE Championship has a new Bantamweight king and he’s none other than Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon.
Belingon dethroned Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, ending his eight-year reign in Friday night’s title unification main event of ONE: Heart of the Lion, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Bibiano is a very tough opponent, I really had a hard time beating him tonight,” Belingon said in the post-fight interview. “But I think I deserve this victory.”
A deserved win for Belingon indeed but the fight could have gone both ways. It was Belingon’s right-hand knockdown of Fernandes late in round four that ultimately earned him the nod.
As expected, Fernandes showcased his grappling prowess by completing five takedowns. But Belingon, with his newly-acquired Baguio Jiu Jitsu, prevented the Brazilian from inflicting damage on the ground.
Fernandes gave the Filipino some scares when he convincingly caught Belingon in an armbar. However, Belingon’s resilience would prevail as he managed to get back up each time Fernandes shot for a takedown.
With the win, Belingon was able to avenge his only loss since January 2016. He also handed Fernandes his first defeat under the ONE Championship banner.
The night before Belingon’s big triumph, Team Lakay struck out with four major wins at the 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards.
These accolades cemented Team Lakay’s status as Asia’s premier stable. The Baguio-based team was hailed the “Gym of the Year” while its members Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio took home the “Martial Arts Hero of the Year” and “Submission of the Year” honors, respectively.
But more importantly, the “Coach of the Year” award was bestowed to Team Lakay patriarch Mark Sangiao. Coach Mark started 2018 with zero titles in ONE Championship. We might as well call him “King Midas” as he now has three—Belingon’s bantamweight title, Pacio’s strawweight championship, and Geje Eustaquio’s flyweight crown.
Sangiao’s knack for collecting gold is only comparable to Thanos’ obsession with Infinity Stones.
Brace yourselves because Team Lakay is not yet finished with 2018. They’ll be gunning for a fourth title as Folayang takes on Singapore’s Amir Khan at ONE: Conquest of Champions, on November 23, in Manila.
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