Belingon’s April victory served as footstool for greater heights in '18

ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon has enjoyed a long list of unforgettable moments on the ONE Championship stage.

Belingon’s April victory served as footstool for greater heights in '18
Kevin Belingon lunges forward for a punch against his retreating American foe Andrew Leone. Charles Dantes
The 31-year-old Baguio City native has fearlessly led Team Lakay into battle, excited fans with a plethora of compelling back-and-forth matches, and captured the ONE Bantamweight World Championship from a celebrated mixed martial arts legend.

With a fair share of impressive wins in his 11-year stint as a mixed martial artist, Belingon points to his victory over perennial contender Andrew Leone of the United States as his favorite.

In front of his countrymen at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, Belingon locked horns with Leone in the main event of ONE: HEROES OF HONOR this past April.

Belingon stressed that his cage meeting with Leone validated his stature as the top contender in the talent-filled bantamweight division of ONE Championship.

“There was a lot on the line for that bout, including a possible title shot. I felt extra pressure to give a good performance because I wanted to prove that I was in that position for a good reason,” he stated.

“I never let the nerves get to me though. I am always composed, and once I stepped through those ropes, in my mind, it was just me and [Leone]. It was like tunnel vision.”

Despite the pressure that he felt, Belingon rose to the occasion with a ferocious display of striking, obliterating opponent Leone within two rounds.

Action was fierce and relentless from start to finish, and began with Belingon swarming Leone from the sound of the opening bell. As the American tried desperately to stave off attacks which came from all directions, the Filipino dynamo continued to put on the pressure.

In the second round, Belingon connected on a thunderous spinning side kick that sent Leone to the canvas, where he followed and unloaded an unending volley of strikes to earn the technical knockout victory.

In victory, “The Silencer” learned a valuable lesson.

“That bout taught me to always give everything I have in every match,” he explained.

“At the end of the day, as long as you left it all in the cage, you know in your heart that you did everything you could to achieve victory. Win or lose, you will not have any regrets, and you will only learn from the experience.”

Belingon has carried that mindset with him into his next bouts this 2018, starting with his five-round drubbing of Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen last July to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship.

Following his dominant win over Nguyen, he ended the near-five year reign of Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes to successfully unify the bantamweight titles in their rematch this past November.

As his profile continues to grow, Belingon will never forget the moment of having his hand raised against Leone because it is the starting point of his impressive run that led him to become a world titleholder in mixed martial arts.

“That win was my favorite because it showed exactly what I am capable of as a fighter,” he said. “I am proud to be able to showcase my skills in front of the entire world, and I got so more to show in 2019.”

Topics: Kevin Belingon , ONE Championship , ONE Bantamweight World , Martin Nguyen
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