Bibiano Fernandes and Kevin Belingon have a long and complicated history under the ONE Championship banner.
The pair first fought in 2016, when the Team Lakay product Belingon challenged Brazil’s Fernandes for the ONE Championship bantamweight title. On that night, Fernandes quickly took care of business, defeating his challenger with a first round armbar.
The pair then met for a second time in November of 2018, with Fernandes’ bantamweight title once again on the line. This time around, a greatly improved Belingon delivered a far better performance, engaging the champion in a five-round war, and ultimately leaving the cage with a split decision victory and the title.
Given the competitive nature of this second bout, the pair were then booked for an immediate rematch, which went down at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan in March of this year. Regrettably, this tie-breaker ended in disaster, as Belingon was disqualified after landing a volley of illegal strikes in the third round, meaning the title was returned to Bibiano Fernandes under inescapably undesirable circumstances.
From the moment that third fight ended, it’s been clear that the pair would eventually meet or a fourth time to hopefully put a decisive end to their rivalry.
On Sunday, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced that this Belingon vs. Fernandes rematch will occur at ONE: Century — the promotion’s 100th numbered event — scheduled for October 13 in Tokyo.
This time around, Bibiano Fernandes hopes to leave no doubt as to who the better fighter is. He’s looking for a finish – ideally by TKO.
“I already beat him three times, and I’m going to beat him one more time,” Fernandes told BJPenn.com, sharing his belief that he should have won all three previous fights with his Filipino rival. “I’m going to finish him. I’m coming for the finish — by TKO. I’ve already beat him three times, and I’m going to beat him once more.”
Who do you think will come out on top in the final chapter of the longstanding rivalry between Bibiano Fernandes and Kevin Belingon?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/30/2019.