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Bibiano Fernandes says contract clause guarantees immediate rematch with Kevin Belingon at ONE

Bibiano Fernandes (left) suffered his first defeat in eight years at ONE Championship.
ONE Championship

Bibiano Fernandes is at peace with his defeat even though he disagrees with the judges, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go after a third fight with Kevin Belingon.

Belingon evened the score against the Brazilian in the main event of ONE Championship: Heart of the Lion last Friday in Singapore, winning a close split decision after five rounds of war. “The Silencer” unified the bantamweight belts and gave Fernandes his first loss in eight years.

“I will fight him,” Fernandes told MMA Fighting when asked if he was hoping for an immediate trilogy with Belingon. “It’s in my contract. If I lost the belt, we would automatically do a rematch. I had that in my contract way before this fight. Especially in a loss like this, I’m glad I have this clause.”

Fernandes, who dropped to 22-4 in the sport after having his 14-fight winning streak snapped in Singapore, says he wouldn’t mind facing other opponent if he had suffered a clear defeat.

That wasn’t the case against Belingon, though.

“If I had lost, if he had submitted me or broke me, he’s the champion, leave it be,” Fernandes said. “But the way it was, I didn’t lose the fight. We have to do a rematch. Honestly, I don’t feel I lost that fight, so my conscience is very clear. I didn’t lose that fight. I didn’t lose to Kevin. I lost to the judges, but not to Kevin.”

“When I look at the ONE judging criteria, what they count more, it’s near knockout or submission first, and then damage, control… When I saw it, I knew I won this fight. I almost submitted him three times. That punch he landed, I threw a kick and only had one foot on the ground when it hit me, so I lost balance. I waited for him to come, grabbed his leg and came back up. I know I won this fight.”

“The Flash” had the longest reign in ONE Championship history ahead of the event in Singapore, and thinks that local fans made a difference in how the judges saw the fight with the Philippines-native.

“Thousands of fans there, and I think half of them were Filipinos,” Fernandes said. “I was alone there against Kevin, the judges and the fans. Anything he did would drive the crowd nuts. If I lose, I lose, I don’t cry about it, but I think the judges were affected by the fans. I’m a fighter and I do my best, but I can’t fight against the judges and the fans.”

The first fight between Fernandes and Belingon lasted only a round, with the jiu-jitsu specialist submitting Belingon with a kimura in the first round in 2016. Belingon got his revenge two and a half years later, and the Brazilian promises to be more patient in an eventual trilogy.

“I won’t rush things next time. I wanted to submit him. I will be more patient,” Fernandes said. “Another thing is, every time I took his back the referee would ask me to work, to move. ‘Wait a minute, I just got to this position…’ He rushed me. Next time, I will be more patient.

”I have look at some things I have to work adjust as well,” he added. “I can fight tomorrow, but Kevin can’t. I saw him afterwards and he couldn’t even walk, so I have to respect his recovery, his rest, let him enjoy the belt because he fought bravely, too.”

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