If actions speak louder than words, then ferocious striker Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon has certainly made this a statement year.
The former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger took it upon himself to establish pole position in a deep division packed with talent, with all eyes on bantamweight legend Bibiano Fernandes‘ coveted world championship.
Tracing back to his victory over Tajikistan’s Muin Gafurov in October 2016, Belingon has railed off four consecutive victories since dropping a submission loss to Fernandes in the first world title shot of his career.
Albeit unsuccessful in his bid to become world champion, Belingon remains adamant that a rematch with Fernandes would produce a different result.
With impressive knockout victories over Toni “Dynamite” Tauru and Reece “Lightning” McLaren, in addition to a thorough unanimous decision victory over Kevin “Oldboy” Chung, Belingon may have punched his ticket to another title opportunity in 2018.
“I want another shot at the title,” the 30-year-old Filipino says. “I have been working very hard to make sure I keep winning, and that I am giving excitement to the fans. Whoever the champion may be next year, I want to be first in line.”
Fernandes, who has held the ONE Bantamweight World Title since late 2013, is set to defend his belt against two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in March of 2018. Belingon is looking to challenge the winner.
“It does not matter to me who wins, I am ready to face any challenge,” he says. “Both men are extremely talented individuals. It will bring out the best in my abilities, and it will be an honor to face the best.”
Belingon is certainly coming into 2018 riding a wave of momentum. After all, 2017 was a banner year from the very start.
At ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY back in April, Belingon turned in one of his most awesome performances, making quick work of Tauru, a former World Title challenger himself. Just a little over two minutes into the contest, the Team Lakay standout turned up the heat on Tauru, swarming him across the cage with a plethora of fierce strikes.
“It was not an easy win. Tauru was very tall and had a long reach. It looked easy, but it was not,” Belingon explains. “I used leg kicks to weaken him, and once I sensed he was fading, I went for it. When I have an opponent reeling like that, I do not like to stop until the referee stops it for me.”
“The Silencer” repeated the same awesome performance just four months later at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in Kuala Lumpur, this time against McLaren. The Aussie was to be one of Belingon’s toughest tests to date, but the Filipino stalwart once again ended the night early.
McLaren, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, had the advantage on the ground, but proved unwise in wanting to test his stand-up against such a powerful striker in Belingon. “The Silencer” capitalized on an opening, and completely overwhelmed McLaren.
“This was my favorite win all year. It was a huge victory for me,” the Filipino states. “Reece is a very difficult opponent, and I knew that he had the advantage in grappling. But I also knew he had a tendency to want to strike, so I tried to get him to trade with me. As soon as I saw my chance, I took it.”
To finish off the year, Belingon met an exciting South Korean-American contender in Chung at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on his home turf in Manila. Many believed the wushu striker was merely one more win away from landing that Fernandes rematch he so actively sought.
Belingon nearly finished Chung the same way he did Tauru and McLaren, but “Oldboy” showed true grit to survive the full length of the bout. It resulted in a clear-cut unanimous decision victory for the hometown hero.
“I wanted so much to earn another title shot, so when I stepped into the cage against Kevin Chung, I was looking to put on another good performance,” Belingon explains. “I do not know if that performance was enough to earn me another title shot, but I will let the promotion decide. Otherwise, I will just keep winning until there is nothing left to prove.”
The last 12 months have been nothing short of phenomenal for “The Silencer,” who has experienced one of the best years in his career since becoming a professional over a decade ago.
After a myriad of exciting and memorable bouts, Belingon is in his prime, and seeks for another shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Championship in 2018. Will “The Silencer” be able to achieve his dream of becoming world champion next year? Perhaps all it takes is one more spectacular performance to reach the top.