Issue of April 7, 2019
Mt. Province

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Belingon – Fernandes 4th title rematch arranged
by Harley F. Palangchao

FOURTH REMATCH SET -- ONE Championship has set an automatic rematch between Kevin Belingon and new ONE bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes following a quick end of their title match in Tokyo, Japan on weekend. -- ONE photo

Former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon and come-backing champion Bibiano Fernandes will grace the first fourth world title rematch in the history of the biggest media sports promotion in Asia.

ONE top honcho Chatri Sityodtong announced an immediate rematch between Belingon and Fernandes following an unsatisfactory and quick end of the title fight at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan due to accidental elbows in round three.

The accidental elbows came just under half of the five five-minute rounds equivalent to 25 minutes set for the championship bout.

Referee Olivier Coste initially gave the 31-year-old Belingon with a yellow card, which means at least 10 percent of his fight purse will be deducted in favor of his opponent.

While the 39-year-old Brazilian was given five minutes to recover from the accidental elbows on his head, Coste drew the red card resulting to an abrupt end to their trilogy.

Under the game rules, a “no contest” verdict will be declared if an accidental blow was committed under half of the scheduled bout period and one fighter is not deemed to continue fighting.

The disqualification of Belingon was widely criticized by fight fans worldwide, as they claimed that it should have been ruled as no contest instead.

Sityodtong announced the two athletes would renew their rivalry again and compete towards a more satisfactory ending. “There is going to be an automatic rematch,” he said.

“Bibiano didn’t even want the belt under those sort of circumstances – Bibiano is a true world champion in every sense of the word. It was an unfortunate (back-of-the-head elbow). Bibiano was not able to continue, so we will see an automatic rematch. These are two warriors, two of the best martial artists in the world, so they deserve another shot to see who’s the best,” he added.

Sityodtong has told Belingon he would have the chance to make amends with Fernandes before he faces another opponent, which was news he was grateful to hear.

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