ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes (21-3) has certainly proven himself to be the world’s best bantamweight martial artist.
The Canada-based Brazilian, who is a five-time BJJ world champion, has not lost a match in nearly seven years, and has tormented ONE Championship’s stacked bantamweight division ever since his arrival in 2012.
He is aging well, too. At 37 years old, when most athletes begin to slow down, Fernandes has continued to get better, and is defeating his younger opposition with authority.
As he enjoys the holiday season and prepares for an epic title defense against two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen at ONE: IRON WILL on 24 March, in Bangkok, Thailand, let’s relive three of his most dominant performances inside the ONE cage.
Tapping Out Dae Hwan Kim
A year after becoming the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Fernandes made the second defense of his title against then-undefeated South Korean “Ottogi” Dae Hwan Kim at ONE: WARRIOR’S WAY in December 2014.
In typical fashion, “The Flash” pressured immediately and looked for the takedown. Though it took him longer than expected, he was able to bring the well-rounded South Korean to the canvas and constantly fished for a submission.
Kim reversed course, and even briefly gained the upper hand on Fernandes before getting the match back to the feet. Fernandes remained tight with his boxing, but “Ottogi” displayed his wild striking, successfully landing a flying knee and spinning back kick. But the Brazilian took the shots like the world champion that he is, and ended the frame with a picture-perfect double leg takedown.
The second round, however, was a completely different tale. Following a fierce scramble and a beautiful spinning back kick from Kim, Fernandes went for another double leg takedown. The South Korean turned to his side in an effort to evade the maneuver. It worked, but that also caused him to give up his back, and “The Flash” instantly jumped on and sank in his two hooks.
Fernandes would flatten Kim, secure the rear-naked choke and squeeze until the challenger tapped out at the 1:16 mark of round two.
#2 Submitting Kevin Belingon
When the promotion staged ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (CHANGSHA), its inaugural show in the Chinese metropolis back in January 2016, it featured a main event title clash between two of the bantamweight division’s most explosive athletes.
Fernandes met the Philippines’ Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, and it was a true contrast of martial arts stylings. “The Flash” is a multi-time BJJ world champion, whereas his Team Lakay rival was a wushu practitioner and a deadly striker.
The chin of Fernandes was supposed to be tested that night, but the Filipino never truly got the chance to try. Merely seconds into the contest, the Brazilian took Belingon down, advanced to side control, and strategically dropped strikes while searching for submissions.
Belingon somehow returned to his feet, but was instantly brought back to the mat by a single leg takedown. Despite “The Silencer” attacking from the bottom position, the Brazilian methodically continued to get into favorable positions.
“The Flash” then cleverly slid him towards the cage, and with an arm trapped against the fence, he locked in a deep kimura, which caused Belingon to tap at 4:04 of the opening stanza.
#3 The Blitz Of Andrew Leone
Following a close split decision victory over Reece McLaren in December 2016, it was clear Fernandes wanted to make a definitive statement in his next bout.
“The Flash” pressured Leone from the opening bell. He charged the Bali-based American, grabbed a single leg, then released it before pummeling his opponent to the cage wall. After a brief scramble, the two clinched against the fence and jockeyed for position.
Just a minute into the bout, Fernandes leaned on Leone and dropped him with an unsuspecting knee to the solar plexus. The Brazilian immediately pounced on his slumped rival and took his back. He continued softening up the Bali MMA founder until he was able to lock-in a rear-naked choke, which led to the final tap.
With the bout ending at 1:47 of the first round, Fernandes’ most recent win also happened to be his fastest victory ever in the promotion.