BELINGON FINDS REDEMP­TION, CAP­TURES TI­TLE

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - By Deni­son Rey Dalu­pang @son­rdINQ

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.”

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