To say that Kevin Belingon’s palate longs for the sapidity of sweet victory is a massive understatement.
The 35-year-old native of Kiangan, Benguet finds himself on a surprising four-bout losing streak–the longest skid of his professional mixed martial arts career. However, he will have the perfect opportunity to turn everything around on November 19th.
That morning, Belingon will face South Korean standout Kim Jae Woong on the undercard of ONE on Prime Video 4 in Singapore, and he believes a few key adjustments will instantly put him back on the right track.
“My training for this fight has been solid, focusing on every important aspect like striking, wrestling, and grappling. We’ve made sure to cover all bases. In mixed martial arts, you never know where the fight will go,” he told Tiebreaker Times.
“I’ve been out of action for almost a year, but I’ve never stopped going to the gym because the goal is to get better at it and work on the areas that need improvement. At my age, I still have a lot left in my gas tank. On November 19, I am ready to prove that.”
Belingon’s eagerness to redeem himself is quite understandable as the last time he heard his name being uttered by the cage announcer as the victor was when he dethroned Brazilian rival Bibiano Fernandes for the ONE bantamweight title by way of a razor-thin split decision in November 2018.
It has been a drastic and unfortunate transition for Belingon, who was once at the top of his weight class.
“The Silencer” acknowledges the fact that another defeat could send him further into a downward spiral, especially since he belongs in a stacked division wherein the ranked contenders in the Top Five are currently embroiled in a neck-and-neck chase for a shot at the vacant ONE bantamweight title.
“I need to win,” Belingon stated straightforwardly. “The landscape of the bantamweight division is always changing. More so now that the title is vacant, a loss here will not help my case to enter the rankings again.
“It’s a desire of mine to put an end to this curse of losing match after match. That fuels my determination to come out triumphant in my next fight.”
The man standing in Belingon’s way to jot down his first win in four years on his ledger is Kim, a freestyle striker who boasts a 75-percent finishing rate and briefly occupied the No. 2 spot of the promotion’s featherweight standings.
According to Belingon, his three-round duel with Kim will serve as a standard of measure to determine if he is still within the top-caliber rank in the sport.
“I think this is the perfect gauge for me to find out if I still belong at the elite level of my division. Kim Jae Woong is a former ranked featherweight contender. Now, he’s moving down to bantamweight. A win will surely send out a message that I am not yet done in the sport and I still have a lot to give,” he mentioned.
“I have to watch out for his boxing. He is capable of stringing together beautiful combinations, and his fists pack power. But don’t get me wrong, I like this matchup. Stylistically, it favors me. He may be a striker, but I believe my striking has more layers than his,” the former ONE bantamweight titleholder said.
“I know he’s coming in as the much bigger guy, but I’ve been a bantamweight ever since. This is my natural habitat. I am comfortable fighting at this weight. I can’t really say the same thing from his end. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Belingon chose not to make a prediction for his upcoming fight, but he did declare one thing for certain: he will accept nothing less than a victory on November 19.
“All that I can say is that it’s going to be an epic fight. But this time around, I will walk away with the win,” he vowed.