Filipino bantamweight ace Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon vowed to stop American submission wizard Andrew Leone in the main event of ONE: HEROES OF HONOR in Manila, and that is exactly what he did. The local hero delivered a performance to remember in front of his home crowd.
Belingon finished Leone in spectacular fashion to cap off a special night of bouts at the Mall of Asia Arena, and in the process sent a clear message to reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
The match started at breakneck pace, with Belingon coming out with guns blazing. He stung Leone with heavy-handed strikes, as the American had to be at his scrambling best to avoid being overwhelmed in the opening exchanges.
Admirably, Leone recovered his composure, and briefly looked to take down the Filipino, only for “The Silencer” to spring a surprise and take down the BJJ black belt wrestler.
Heading into the contest, the Team Lakay-trained Belingon had spoken about his team’s dedication to sharpening their wrestling and grappling skills, and how he planned to use them to showcase his highly-vaunted striking.
The fruits of that labor were in the ring for all to see, as he not only dominated Leone on the feet, but he also had the upper hand against the Pan-Asian Grappling Champion on the ground, too.
With his opponent pinned to the mat, “The Silencer” landed a pair of huge knees and an elbow on Leone, and forced a brief stoppage while ringside medics checked a cut on the American.
The bout resumed with the Bali MMA head on the front foot, looking to establish a foothold in the contest. But an attempted takedown was easily stuffed by Belingon, who then scored an emphatic second takedown to round out an impressive opening frame.
A rhythm seemed to have been established in the second round, with both men appearing to pace themselves, and assess the other’s timing.
Then, out of nowhere, Belingon produced the highlight reel moment of the night – and possibly the year – as he unleashed a perfectly-timed spinning back kick that landed flush to Leone’s midsection. The blow was so powerful, it sent the American flying across the ring into a crumpled heap in the corner.
With the Manila crowd at fever pitch, “The Silencer” swarmed over his opponent, and unloaded a barrage of ground strikes that forced referee Olivier Coste to end the contest at the 1:27 mark of the second round.
The victory pushes Belingon’s record to 18-5, gives him the “GoDaddy Knockout of the Night,” and extends his win streak to five.
Despite the dominant nature of his victory, the humble and softly-spoken Filipino opted not to use his post-bout interview to demand a world title rematch with the Brazilian. Instead, he simply said he would be happy with whomever ONE’s matchmakers paired him with next.
Also, “The Silencer” addressed the fans in the Mall Of Asia Arena, and wanted to make sure they enjoyed themselves.
“I hope you were entertained,” he said.
After a special night in Manila, and thanks in no small part to a truly memorable performance from Belingon, they certainly were.