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Belingon to face Nguyen for interim ONE bantam belt in Manila

Kevin Belingon (L) will try to move closer to another title shot in ONE: Reign of Kings in Manila. ONE Championship Photos
By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA— Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon gets another crack at a world title when he faces Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen” for the interim ONE Championship bantamweight title in the main event of ONE: Reign of Kings slated July 27 at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The 30-year old Team Lakay mainstay, fresh from his second-round knock-out win over American grappling champ Andrew Leone also in Manila, is on a five-bout win streak and hopes to continue the streak against Nguyen, the reigning Featherweight and Lightweight champion.

The winner of the match will set up a date with Bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes.

“As one of the top bantamweights in ONE Championship, I am willing to take on all comers. It doesn’t matter to me who is the opponent. In fact, I am honored to face Martin Nguyen, a two-division world champion. If I can beat Martin, it would be huge. This is a great position I am in, and I am excited for this bout. It will be action-packed, for sure,” said Belingon (18-5).

Nguyen (11-2), who successfully defended his featherweight title opposite Christian Lee in Singapore last month, is eager to get back at Fernandes, who beat him via split decision in March. But the 29-year old Vietnam- born Australian must first hurdle the hard-punching Baguio native Belingon in his quest to be the first three-division world champion in ONE Championship history.

“Bibiano [Fernandes] should watch this fight with a close eye. He knows who the rightful challenger is. It's either me or Kevin, and I will be doing everything in my power to finish this one,” Nguyen said.

“This is a fan-friendly match-up between two aggressive, young beasts, and I can't wait to lock horns with Kevin. There will be fireworks.”

Rising Thai superstar Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai will take up former world lightweight king Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in one of the featured undercards in the event.

The 29-year old prospect is coming off a stunning 21-second win over Raja Rajul in March. Aoki, on the other hand, hopes to bring yet another grappling magic in the cage.
Martin Nguyen is gunning for a third title in as many weight classes. ONE Championship Photos
Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie of the famed Gracie fmaily will made his final appearance in the ONE stage against Japanese Yuki “Sora” Kondo, who will also make his swan song from mixed martial arts.

Former lightweight champ and Filipino Eduard Folayang is also set to make an appearance in the event, eager to continue to comeback trail against a yet unnamed opponent. 

ONE Championship Chariman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong expressed his excitement in the card, the third to be held in Manila this year.

“It’s a great match-up between two heavy-handed power punchers, and one that will surely leave fans at the edge of their seats."

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