Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is a man of patience.
Nine months removed from his last bout, the Baguio City, Philippines Based bantamweight fighter will return to the cage on Friday Night, 7 October, when he battles Muin Gafurov at ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
“I’ll take this fight patiently,” the 28year old says. “I’ll just wait for my opportunity to go inside or wait for my opportunity to attack, because he is a tough fighter. I can go stand up with him or fight him on the ground.”
Belingon, a former ONE Championship title challenger, is motivated to bounce back from his most recent loss. The Team Lakay product fought ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fenandes at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (CHANGSHA) this past January, and was submitted via kimura just four minutes into the first round. He simply couldn’t implement his game plan that night, as he wasn’t able to control the cage the way he normally does.
This time around, against Gafurov, the Filipino doesn’t plan to make the same mistakes he committed in his previous bout.
“I learned a lot of things, especially miscalculating the stance or the fight distance against my opponent,” he explains. “This next fight, I will calculate the fighting stance or I’ll just move around. My game plan here is to strike with my opponent, so I’ll just wait for him to move. Then, that’s when I will attack.”
Belingon has always attacked the sport with a certain tenaciousness and ferocity. Starting out on the Philippines regional scene back in 2007, Belingon, a wellrounded mixed martial artist with a wushu background, amassed an impressive nine fight winning streak and captured the URCC Flyweight Championship.
Following his ninth consecutive victory, the Filipino inked a deal with ONE Championship. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a serious jump in competition, as he began his career with the largest promotion in Asia on a two fight losing skid.
“ONE is a different level from the fighters here in the Philippines,” he says. “The fighters in ONE are tougher and stronger than my opponents before here in the Philippines. I was undefeated before I came into ONE, and then in my first fight I lost, so ONE is a different level. There are a lot of challenges there, and different challenges.”
The step up in competition forced the Team Lakay product to enhance his training. In the past, he didn’t put all of the facets of mixed martial arts together as a whole. But now, from striking and grappling to overall fitness, Belingon has every portion of the cage game covered.
“We changed up some of our training. We improved some,” he explains. “We train in everything. We train grappling, we train wrestling, and we train striking. And we upped our training, like our endurance training, and we are strengthening.
“Before, we didn’t train like that, but now after signing with ONE, there are some improvements. We added some techniques.”
Now armed with a 135 record, “The Silencer” is prepared to take on Muin Gafurov, a 20year old rising star who is fighting out of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Gafurov, a combat sambo world champion, owns a 101 record with his only blemish coming in his last outing, a unanimous decision loss to Reece McLaren at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS this past April. Prior to that defeat, “Tajik” had won ten straight fights in less than a three year span.
When it comes to watching tape on his opponents, Belingon doesn’t feel the necessity. Instead, he just steps inside the cage and operates on instinct. He doesn’t know too much about Gafurov, but he knows enough to make a game plan.
“I know that he’s a striker. He’s tough and he’s aggressive, that’s all I know,” Belingon says. “I’ll just go with the flow. I’ll just fight him like we are at war.”
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About ONE Championship™
ONE Championship is the largest sports media property in Asian history. Headquartered in Singapore, the world’s most exciting mixed martial arts organization hosts the largest sports entertainment events across Asia featuring the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions, all signed to exclusive contracts, on the largest media broadcast in Asia. ONE Championship is broadcast to over 1 billion viewers across 118+ countries around the world with some of the largest global broadcasters, including FOX Sports, Setanta, MNC, Astro, Thairath TV, ABS-CBN, TV5, MYTV, HTV, Esporte Interativo and more.