Kevin Belingon upsets Bibiano Fernandes, unifies ONE Championship belt

The longest reining king in ONE Championship history is no longer at the top.

Bibiano Fernandes met interim bantamweight Kevin Belingon in a bantamweight title unification bout in the main event of Friday’s ONE: Heart of the Lion at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore, and both fighters put on a thrilling five-round contest.

Belingon, who couldn’t last a round the first time he fought “The Flash” in 2016, losing via first-round submission, landed several spinning back kicks throughout the 25 minutes of the fight. Fernandes was able to take the fight to the ground a few times, coming close to the finish with a pair of armbars, but Belingon found his way out in both occasions.

Fernandes, who got the mount and worked on the ground and pound late in the third round, insisted on the armbar in the fourth round, but Belingon came back on the feet to knock Fernandes down with a right hand. Belingon landed several leg kicks in the final round, with Fernandes chasing him for a takedown, but there was no time for more.

In the end, two of the three judges declared Belingon the winner, ending Fernandes’ five-year reign as the ONE bantamweight champion. “The Silencer” now joined Horoyuki Takaya, “Kid” Yamamoto and Urijah Faber in the the short list of fighters that have defeated the Brazilian in 14 years.

In the post-fight interview, Belingon said his plan was to finish “The Flash”, while the Brazilian said he felt he did enough to win the championship contest.

Christian Lee also made some history in the co-main event. Coming off back-to-back defeats on paper — his recent one was a loss due to an illegal suplex finish, which he considers a knockout win —, Lee made quick work of UFC veteran Kazuki Tokudome to score a record 10th stoppage win under the ONE banner.

Lee hurt Tokudome with a right hand and immediately took him down, getting to the mount and then the back, from where he landed a series of punches to forced the stoppage in just three minutes. After the win, Lee called for a shot at the ONE title.

Attempting to get back on track after competing for the vacant strawweight title, Tiffany Teo looked impressive against multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini.

Nicolini was successful in a few attempts to take the fight to the ground, but Teo quickly came back on the feet all the time. Nicolini’s best moment came with an armbar, when Teo was saved by the bell. Other than that, the Brazilian was an easy target for Teo’s kicks and punches on the feet. In the end, Teo improved to 8-1 with an unanimous decision victory.

The card also featured the return of another jiu-jitsu specialist, Garry Tonon. In his case, though, Tonon continued to impress in the stand-up area before finishing Sung Jong Lee with a guillotine choke in a featherweight bout.

Check the complete ONE Championship: Heart of the Lion results below.

Kevin Belingon def. Bibiano Fernandes via split decision
Christian Lee def. Kazuki Tokudome via TKO at 3:07 of R1
Tiffany Teo def. Michelle Nicolini via unanimous decision
Adrian Pang def. Kota Shimoishi via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of R1
Garry Tonon def. Sung Jong Lee via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:04 of R2
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke def. Himanshu Kaushik via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:45 of R2
Shuya Kamikubo def. Muhammad Aiman via unanimous decision
Xie Bin def. Hisyam Samsudin via submission (d’arce choke) at 3:19 of R1
Anthony Engelen def. Meas Meu via KO at 0:39 of R1 (watch here)

Kickboxing:
Giorgio Petrosyan def. Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy via unanimous decision

Muay Thai:
Smokin’ Jo Nattawut def. George Mann via unanimous decision
Alaverdi Ramazanov def. Andrew Miller via knockout at 0:57 of R1
Muangthai P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym def. Panicos Yusuf via unanimous decision

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