ONE Championship is back bringing us an explosive card with intriguing matchups. In ONE: Inside the Matrix III, former ONE Bantamweight Champion Kevin Belingon will face veteran and former UFC contender John Lineker. The pair of explosive strikers will undoubtedly deliver an exciting and fan-friendly war.
For the former champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, this will be his first fight in 2 years fighting against someone not named Bibiano Fernandes. For much of the past years, ONE Championship’s bantamweight throne has been pretty much frozen as Kevin Belingon and Bibiano Fernandes had back to back to back fights.
Since becoming champion while having a 7 fight win streak against the top opponents, Kevin Belingon dropped his last two fights against Fernandez, one via DQ and the latest being a submission loss. Now, Kevin looks to reinstate his stature and seek redemption by having a decisive win against a big name.
John “Hands of Stone” Lineker had a good run in the UFC, he’s actually beaten a lot of good names and even has a winning record in the UFC. With his loss against Cory Sandhagen, John Lineker was released by the UFC. The reason, as stated by Dana White, was because of Lineker’s trouble in making weight. This makes him suited with ONE Championship because the promotion prohibits weight cutting.
ONE Championship signed John Lineker last year, July 2019. He had his successful debut 2 months after beating Muin Gafurov. Lineker stated he wants to be active, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic delaying all of ONE Championship’s activities, this will be his first fight in over a year.
At 30 years old, Lineker still is in his best shape and even may still be approaching his prime. John Lineker will set foot on the ONE octagon seeking to impress and make a statement against one of the toughest challenges of his professional career.
Here’s a head-to-toe breakdown of Kevin Belingon vs John Lineker, Who Has The Advantage?
This is an area in this fight that will be least expected to happen. The chances of the fight ending with a submission are low, but there’s still that threat.
Although the American Top Team representative John Lineker is known for his devastating punches, he actually is equipped with a Brown Belt in Jiu-Jitsu. He doesn’t really go for takedowns but whenever he does, he is comfortable and effective. John Lineker has finished opponents with his most dangerous submission, the guillotine choke.
Kevin Belingon has an underrated ground game. In his 4 fights with the grappling expert Bibiano Fernandes, Belingon was able to defend takedowns and submissions, he was able to get out from positions where normally nobody ever escapes to. Belingon isn’t a slouch with his grappling, but it just isn’t his forte.
Edge: John Lineker
There’s a reason why John Lineker’s moniker is “Hands of Stone”. No word can ever be more suited to him than this. In his whole career, John Lineker has always shown that he can end anybody’s night with his hammer-like punches. He took out top contenders and at one point in his career was labeled as the hardest hitting flyweight in the whole world.
Kevin Belingon doesn’t stand far way either. Belingon holds the record for most knockouts and finishes in ONE bantamweight history. His power comes from sheer speed and explosiveness. What Belingon gives his power is his ability to catch you off guard, or when you least expect him to land at you. Belingon is a master at finding his angles and placing you off balance.
In terms of raw power, John Lineker has the edge here.
Edge: John Lineker
Kevin Belingon as the world knows is an excellent striker. Being a Wushu specialist, Belingon is very creative with his strikes while being accurate with it. Belingon’s kicks are his best weapons. He is able to set up kicks from different angles and positions. Most famous for his spinning techniques, he picks his opponents apart by setting his kicks in the perfect timing.
John Lineker is a technical boxer that packs incredible power. Lineker tends to turn into a brawler and leave his defense especially when he gets his opponents hurt. Lineker also does not quite utilize kicks other than leg kicks, he mainly enjoys hand fighting.
In terms of striking where you want to hit and not get hit, Kevin Belingon has the advantage. His footwork, agility, and technique are superior to that of Lineker’s. Belingon also has the ability to quickly close the distance and leave to evade his opponent’s counters.
Edge: Kevin Belingon
Between these two elite fighters who have been competing at very high levels of MMA, they built themselves up to have durability and endurance.
In over 40 professional bouts, many of which were against the elite in UFC, John Lineker has never been stopped with strikes. Lineker has absorbed and received punches and kicks and never got close to being stopped.
Kevin Belingon trains out of Team Lakay Wushu in the mountains of Baguio. Those high altitudes train Belingon to have an unlimited gas tank. Belingon’s Wushu technique demands maintaining a hectic pace which requires a massive amount of energy. Being able to keep up that kind of activity through the full 25 minutes of a match is what Belingon is capable of.
Lineker has shown to slow in fights, Belingon hasn’t. Belingon had been hurt in his previous fights while Lineker hasn’t.
This fight will be the first fight both men will have in over a year. While ring rust naturally occurs, it is not something that both men will show in this match. They will come hungry to step into the octagon and do what they love, fighting.
A feeling out process in the early minutes of the fight is expected. With each packing tremendous power, finding their range and rhythm is important. However, given the way that Belingon and Lineker fights, it is expected that they will be giving it all and not leave question marks after the fight.
John Lineker rarely takes a step back and always has been an aggressor in his career. Kevin Belingon on the other hand loves to initiate the action especially when his opponent is also a striker. John Lineker has excellent bodywork, and this is what he should utilize in this fight. Kevin Belingon is too slippery and evasive to get caught in the early rounds unless he gets caught with a perfect setup. But Belingon will be careful not to get caught by Lineker’s notorious powerful punches.
What Belingon’s previous opponents failed to do is to take away his stamina. What Lineker should do is buildup and capitalize early on his bodywork. Investing in such attacks will slow down Belingon in the later rounds and that will be the perfect time for Lineker to land his power punches.
As always repeated, one way to slow down a boxer is to chop down on his legs. Kevin Belingon has just what it takes to do that to Lineker. Belingon has devastating leg kicks, and he might want to take a page out of Dillashaw’s performance versus Lineker. TJ picked Lineker apart by countering perfectly.
Kevin Belingon is capable of doing that and it is expected of him to do that. Standing and trading with Lineker is a bad idea. Belingon will be working on keeping the distance while constantly landing his strikes until he smells blood and goes for the finish.
This being a 5 round match, a decision outcome is hard to see. With their clashing styles, there will be fireworks, and eventually, somebody is going to get hurt.
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