Issue of July 5, 2020
Mt. Province
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Belingon wants title fight with Nguyen in FW class
by Harley F. Palangchao

THE CHALLENGER -- Former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon (left) has signified his intention to challenge reigning ONE featherweight world champion Martin Nguyen after the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in Asia announced it will resume operation with its July 31 showdown in Bangkok, Thailand. The promotion has yet to respond to the challenge of Belingon. -- ONE photo

Former ONE Championship bantamweight world champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon wants to have another title showdown with two-division world champion Martin Nguyen anytime soon.

But the 32-year-old Ifugao native wants that the title showdown will be in the featherweight division, where Nguyen is the undisputed champion.

Team Lakay Chair Mark Sangiao said in an interview with a foreign media service that Belingon caught him by surprise when he told his coach he wanted to challenge Nguyen in the higher weight class.

“He wants to fight Martin Nguyen. He beat him in the bantamweight division, so he wants to go up to the featherweight class,” Sangiao said.

The 31-year-old Nguyen is one of the top knockout artists in ONE promotion, having stopped some of the top contenders such as former champions Eduard Folayang in their lightweight match and Marat Gafurov of Russia.

While the undisputed featherweight king, Nguyen challenged Belingon for the interim ONE bantamweight world champion in July 2018 with the Igorot fighter winning via unanimous decision.

Such win made Belingon the recipient of the 2018 ONE Warrior of the Year, the highest recognition the biggest MMA sports media promotion in Asia bestows to a fighter who displayed stellar performances in a year.

Belingon also went on to defeat Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil to unify the title few months later. The Brazilian, however, came back strong and defeated Belingon in two succeeding title rematches.

The Igorot fighter now has 20 wins and seven losses in his professional MMA career.

Nguyen also came back strong after his bout with Belingon, defeating former world champion Narantungalag Jadambaa of Mongolia and former title contender Koyomi Matsushima.

Nguyen has 13 wins and three losses in his professional career.

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