MANILA, Philippines — Former undisputed champion Kevin Belingon has faced the toughest fighters the bantamweight division has to offer from Martin Nguyen to Bibiano Fernandes, whom he’s already fought four times from 2016 to 2019.
But a new challenge awaits the Team Lakay star when he returns in the ONE Circle against former UFC veteran John Lineker on Friday.
Belingon’s first fight in over a year will serve as the main event of ONE: Inside the Matrix III.
“John Lineker is one of the toughest fighters I will ever face. He’s not an opponent to be taken lightly. He’s got a lot of experience, and a lot of power in his hands, which is why he is known to end fights early,” said Belingon.
“We have watched his previous fights and we’re confident we can come up with the right game plan for whatever he brings to the table. I have to win this fight to prove that I deserve to stay as the number one contender.”
The 33-year-old Belingon last fought in October of last year and he hasn’t had a taste of victory since he took the bantamweight belt from Fernandes in their second bout back in November 2018.
“I’m ecstatic to compete because it’s already been a year since my last fight. The situation we are in right now has truly affected everyone in the industry. Every fighter, including myself, has had to slow things down a little bit and stay isolated in quarantine so we don’t contract the virus,” said Belingon.
“The birth of my daughter has really added extra motivation for me to succeed. I am fighting to give my family a better life, and that’s a powerful thing.”
Belingon also doesn’t see his clash with Lineker going the distance.
“You all know how I fight, I fight moving forward. So this is going to be a very exciting matchup. I don’t think this is going the distance, with the way we both attack. I want to put on a good show for the fans,” said Belingon.
“I’ve prepared the same way, just like I have prepared for my previous fights. I never underestimate any of my opponents. That’s not a good thing to do inside the Circle. Every fight is dangerous.”
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