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Bibiano Fernandes can’t remember ONE Championship fight after illegal elbows from Kevin Belingon

Bibiano Fernandes is once again the ONE bantamweight titleholder.
Photo via ONE Championship

Bibiano Fernandes regained the ONE Championship bantamweight title on Sunday. Yet, the fight didn’t go the way he planned.

“The Flash” entered the cage in Tokyo, Japan, for a trilogy clash with Kevin Belingon, but the contest came to an end in the third round after Belingon was disqualified for landed several illegal elbows to the back of Fernandes’ head. Fernandes was furious and stormed off the cage before he was given the belt, and still has yet to be given the title.

Shortly after the fight, Fernandes and several other ONE Championship fighters flew from Japan to Thailand for an athletes’ retreat, and the bantamweight king spoke with MMA Fighting about what he experienced in Tokyo.

”I felt nauseated this morning, had a bad headache after the fight,” Fernandes said on Tuesday morning, still feeling neck and back of the head pain. “I’ll spend a few days here in Thailand because I have to, but then I’ll go back to Canada and sit down with my doctor. That guy hit me with nine elbows, man. The TV only showed two, but he landed several strikes. I was dizzy, I didn’t know what to do. I think my coaches made the right call.”

The fight lasted more than 11 minutes, but Fernandes doesn’t remember any of it.

”I try to remember the fight, but I can’t,” Fernandes said. “I still don’t remember the first round. Doctors said my memory will come back slowly. I still can’t remember the rounds. I remember up until Demetrious Johnson’s fight, and then the referee in front of me with my coaches by my side. I remember my coaches telling me to remain calm, telling me to relax. That’s the only thing I can remember. It sucks.

”Demetrious Johnson told me ‘you had the mount, you took his back, you knocked him down’, and I had no idea I did all that in the fight. He showed me the video of the fight and that’s how I know what happened.”

I was two rounds up when I got illegally elbowed on the back of my head at the beginning of the third round. As you can see on the footage captured by my corner, I got hit eight times on the back of my head, not two as it was said on the broadcast. It is clear that not only Kevin Belingon has hit as hard as he could, but he aimed to it as well. That’s not how I planned to get my ONE championship belt back but, ONE championship is about honor and integrity and that is exactly what Kevin did not show last night. I was dizzy, I couldn’t remember where I was for a bit, and the 5 minutes I got to recover wasn’t enough to get myself back in the fight. Over these 15 years and 27 fights journey, one the things I have learned was to listen to my body. Thank God, Japan, all my fans, my family and my team for being with me throughout this journey. I will take some time to rest and I will be back soon. Eu estava vencendo os dois primeiros rounds, quando tomei uma sequência de cotoveladas ilegais na parte de trás da minha cabeça, foram oito golpes e não dois como foi falado na transmissão ao vivo. Fica claro que não só bateu com muita força, mas ele mirou no alvo. Não foi como eu tinha planejado recuperar o meu cinturão, ONE championship prevalece a honra e a integridade e isso é exatamente o que o Kelvin Belingon não mostrou ontem à noite. Eu estava tonto, fiquei um tempo sem lembrar aonde estava, e os 5 minutos que eu tinha para me recuperar não foram o suficiente para voltar para a luta. Nesses 15 anos e 27 lutas de estrada, uma das coisas que aprendi foi escutar o meu corpo. Obrigado a Deus, Japão, meus fans, minha família e meu time por estarem comigo nessa jornada. Vou para cada descansar um pouco e logo mais já estarei de volta. #onechampionship @mmafighting @mmajunkie @arielhelwani @canalcombate @tatamemag #onechampioship #onejapan #honer&integrity

Posted by Bibiano Fernandes on Sunday, March 31, 2019

After sitting down with his teammate “Mighty Mouse,” and watching the trilogy bout with Belingon, Fernandes believes “The Silencer” decided to use illegal strikes because he “got desperate”.

”I was pressuring (Belingon) and he didn’t know what to do,” Fernandes said. “I took him down in every round and he couldn’t get back up, so he got desperate. I knew I was going to submit him. I always fight pushing forward. Watch my first MMA fights, when I fought Urijah Faber and (“Kid”) Yamamoto, that’s how I always fight, but that’s not what he does. That was his only option, to throw those elbows.”

”I was still recovering and he was already on his feet, waiting,” he continued. “You know what, he thought I would continue to fight. ‘He’s f****d, so I’ll receive a yellow card and come back and do different in the fight.’ But I couldn’t continue. I made the right decision. I’d rather recover and we see what we do later.”

The promotion has yet to announce the next move for Fernandes, which could be a fourth fight with Belingon. The Brazilian is 2-1 against the Filipino fighter, but still thinks he won all three fights — Fernandes lost a controversial split decision back in November 2018.

Asked if he would agree to face Belingon a fourth time, “The Flash” said “I won’t make that decision now.”

”I think the promotion should ask me first, they can’t make that decision of fighting him again before I decide what I want to do,” Fernandes said. “They can’t say ‘he’s fighting Kevin now’. I submitted him in the first fight, I won the second one, he does that in the third, and wants one more fight?

”He can’t beat me on the feet, can’t beat me on the ground, anywhere. He fights to survive against me. What he did was wrong. He got desperate because he had no solution to win. If it was only one elbow, okay, cool, but he aimed for the back of the head and landed seven, eight, nine elbows, man.”

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