ONE FC: Belingon explains tactical approach against Gafurov

Nissi Icasiano
ONE FC: Belingon explains tactical approach against Gafurov
Belingon defended his tactical approach to the Gafurov fight, asserting that he could not afford to give himself room for error

MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Belingon’s lopsided win over Muin Gafurov was a cause for celebration as the Filipino fighter picked up his first victory in nearly two years, but many were left surprised with how he fought the Tajik standout. 

The 28-year-old Baguio City native shied away from his relentless fighting style and resorted to a more tactical approach to get a unanimous decision against Gafurov on the undercard of ONE Championship’s “State of Warriors” card on Friday, October 7.

Belingon defended his tactical approach to the Gafurov fight, asserting that he could not afford to give himself room for error in a bantamweight encounter with the hard-hitting Tajik.

“Gafurov has a knockout power. I had to be careful. In a match with a fighter like him, you have to be one step ahead of him while being cautious. One mistake could cause me the match,” he told Rappler. 

From bell to bell, the one-time ONE Championship bantamweight title challenger banked on his lashing leg kicks and takedown defense to keep Gafurov at bay. 

Belingon continued to dictate the pace of the match in the third and final frame, where he maintained his distance by consistently telegraphing his leg kicks while making Gafurov hesitate to cut the gap with his signature left hook. 

Belingon stressed that he was seeking an emphatic triumph over Gafurov, but the strategic nature of the bout did not give him the chance to do so. 

“I wanted to finish Gafurov, but that’s not how the fight went. I needed another way to defeat him,” he stated. 

Although Belingon’s method of defeating Gafurov was starkly different from his usual fighting style, he plans to win his fans over again as the 5-foot-5 Team Lakay standout is known for his highlight-reel finishes.

“I always want to give fans an exciting fight and a good finish. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that in my fight against Gafurov. In my next fight, let’s see. I’m going to give my best,” he said. – Rappler.com

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