Preview: Belingon gets chance to silence critics
SINGAPORE -- Filipino hope Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon will take on Masakatsu Ueda of Japan at the ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) Bantamweight Grand Prix Final on Friday, May 31, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
It has been a long journey for Belingon, who trains and fights out of the famed Team Lakay stable in the high altitudes of Baguio City. He's been actively competing in MMA since 2007, and at one point was once considered among the top ten best Flyweight prospects in the world by Bloody Elbow.
Needless to say, his potential is off the charts.
Road to the finals
A Wushu practitioner, Belingon utilizes lightning quick punches and thunderous kicks to overpower opponents. He had to get through two tough battles against Russian Yusup Saadulaev and Australian Thanh Vu to get here, but now in the final match, there seems to be nothing to stop Belingon from emerging as the tournament victor.
Only Masakatsu Ueda, who himself had to get past Korean Min Jung Song and former UFC veteran Jens "Li'l Evil" Pulver, stands in the way of Belingon reaching the pinnacle of ONE FC's stacked Bantamweight division.
A win for Belingon or Ueda would put either at the forefront of a mandatory title shot against Soo Chul Kim, the reigning Bantamweight champion.
They would have to go through Bibiano Fernandes first, the interim Bantamweight champion widely considered to be the best in the division, as Kim is currently sidelined by injury.
Suffice to say, the road gets tougher from here on out.
Even then, Filipino MMA fight fans crave revenge against Kim, whom Belingon dropped a loss to the last time ONE FC was in Manila during Pride of a Nation back in August of 2012.
Yet even before Belingon can even think about exacting vengeance on his Korean conqueror, he'd have to pull out a gutsy win over Ueda, whose vast experience gives him a great chance to upset the Pinoy warrior.
Ueda is a former Shooto Featherweight Champion in his days back in Japan. He also pulled off an impressive win over Pulver in his last fight, submitting the well-known American via D'arce Choke to make it to the finals.
If Belingon can keep the fight standing, against a dangerous shoot wrestler like Ueda, he'd have an exponentially easier night. Ueda will most definitely look to take the fight to the ground, where he's more accustomed to grappling more than anything else.
Overall, it will be the classic MMA matchup of striker versus grappler as the two combatants seek to impose their will onto each other. Whoever executes the better gameplan should get the win.
Friday night, in ONE FC's return to the heart of Manila's MMA scene, Kevin Belingon looks to conclude his epic journey with an emphatic victory on the sport's biggest stage. Broadcast worldwide via Pay-Per-View, Belingon will finally get his chance to "silence" all critics and take one for the home team.
Beating Ueda would put Belingon one step closer to his ultimate goal - becoming the ONE FC Bantamweight world champion. - Rappler.com