BELINGON FINDS REDEMPTION, CAPTURES TITLE
Kevin Belingon had waited a thousand days—1,021 to be exact—to get back at Bibiano Fernandes.
He didn’t mind waiting another 25 minutes.
On Friday night, inside a Singapore Indoor Stadium filled to the rafters, the Team Lakay bantamweight finally put an end to his agonizing wait for redemption.
Belingon became the undisputed bantamweight champion after dethroning long-reigning champion Fernandes in five rounds via split decision.
“Of course, I’m overjoyed,” Belingon told the Inquirer in Filipino. “I prepared for this, especially with my grappling. We were wary of his take-down savvy. I was hoping to bring the fight into the striking spectrum since I thrive there.”
The 31-year-old Ifugao native snapped Fernandes’ 14-fight winning streak that has spanned for seven years and gave Belingon the chance to bury the ghost of a submission loss to Fernandes in Jan. 23, 2016, in China.
Belingon masterfully slipped out of multiple submission traps set by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, thanks to an improved ground game. Prior to the tussle, Belingon billed the rematch as a “BJJ vs BJJ” showcase.
“I wouldn’t say you can now tag ‘Baguio jiu-jitsu’ as ‘world-class,’” he said. “Improved is more like it.”