In the eyes of Bibiano Fernandes, it’s time to put an end to his saga with Kevin Belingon once and for all.
Fernandes (23-4) will meet Belingon (20-6) for the fourth time on Saturday at ONE: Century Part II in Tokyo, Japan, defending his bantamweight title in the process.
With his first two wins over Belingon being a submission and a Belingon disqualification for illegal elbows to the back of the head, Fernandes said he wants a knockout to truly put a stamp on things.
“I want to go there and box; I want to win by TKO or knockout. That’s my mentality,” said Fernandes in an interview.
“I do have to be patient to see how he comes out, but to get the knockout would be great.”
After winning the ONE Championship bantamweight title back in 2014, Fernandes successfully defended it six times before briefly losing it to Belingon in Nov. 2018, then claiming it back this past March.
Throughout his career, Fernandes has amassed a combined 13 title wins and defences, but said the belts aren’t the most important thing he takes away from those triumphs.
“I don’t look at the title. The titles, for me, are just a bonus,”said Fernandes.
“It’s the way I prepare for each of these fights; the way my mind and my body are is the big thing for me.”
Familiar, But Not Easier
With this being the fourth meeting between Fernandes and Belingon, there’s no question the familiarity of each other’s tendencies is there.
But despite being no stranger to sharing the cage with Belingon, Fernandes said it doesn’t get any easier preparing for an opponent he’s already fought three times.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easier and I wouldn’t say it’s harder. It’s all about the adjustments,” said Fernandes.
“You have to make the adjustments. I can’t fight the same fight I fought last time. I have to keep making improvements and keep getting better.”
Fernandes’ lone loss to Belingon was a split decision, one that stirred up plenty of controversy following the bout.
The loss left a sour taste in Fernandes’ mouth, a taste he’s looking to spit out for good on Saturday.
“The way he did it, the way he fought, the way it ended, I don’t think he deserved that last fight,” said Fernandes.
With the wealth of talent currently in the ONE bantamweight division, the list of legitimate challengers for Fernandes is growing.
Having already beat Belingon twice, Fernandes said there’s only one reason he’s fighting him again instead of a new challenger.
“People always ask me why I think I need to fight Kevin again; I say I do it for the fans. I fight for my fans.”