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ONE FC: Belingon aims for empathic win against Gafurov

Nissi Icasiano
ONE FC: Belingon aims for empathic win against Gafurov
'I’m hungry to get this win for the country,' says Filipino fighter Kevin Belingon

YANGON, Myanmar – Filipino fighter Kevin Belingon is seeking a statement-making victory and his first win in nearly two years against Muin Gafurov. 

Belingon is set to face Gafurov on the undercard of ONE Championship’s “State of Warriors” event, which takes place at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, October 7.

The 28-year-old Baguio City native has had his fair share of highs and lows inside the ONE Championship cage since making his promotional debut 4 years ago, but he wants nothing short of leaving a lasting impression. 

Belingon, a Wushu Sanshou practitioner who prefers to clobber a straight right-left hook combination and throw hard kicks at all levels but particularly to the legs, notched a first-round stoppage of Russia’s Yusup Saadulaev in October 2012. 

Meanwhile, “The Silencer” thwarted Australian stalwart Than Vu in April 2013 by delivering a head kick before unleashing a volley of power punches that resulted in a second-round finish. 

Belingon attained a highlight-reel knockout of David Aranda Santacana in December 2013 when he uncorked a thunderous left hook that brought the Spaniard’s first ONE Championship outing to a dramatic and decisive close. 

Belingon stressed that if the opportunity to score a finish presents itself, he will not think twice to grab it.

“Of course, I want that finish. I am always looking for that. If there’s an opening to get the knockout or submission, I will go for that in a split second,” he told Rappler. 

Belingon has a tall order in front of him as Gafurov was once an undefeated prospect from Dushanbe, Tajikistan with 6 submission triumphs and 4 knockout wins. 

With his opponent being well-versed in both stand-up and grappling departments, the 5-foot-5 Team Lakay standout asserted that he is prepared wherever the fight goes. 

“He is good in both striking and ground game, but I trained hard for this fight. I’m hungry to get this win for the country and to extend the winning streak of Team Lakay,” Belingon explained. 

Although Gafurov appears to have the upper hand in all facets of the 3-round bantamweight encounter, Belingon believes that fighting within his comfort zone will give him a better chance of walking out with his hand raised.

“Striking is my bread and butter. If he wants to trade strikes, I will be happy to exchange strikes with him,” he stated.

As Belingon will have the chance to place himself back on the winning track, Belingon acknowledged the need of securing a convincing triumph over high-caliber opponent like Gafurov. 

“After losing to Bibiano Fernandes in January, I know I have to start again. But with the fight against Gafurov, I have the chance to pull myself back up. That’s why I am eager to go home with a big win,” he said. –

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