ONE Championship’s John Lineker Sends Message with TKO of Ex-Champ at Inside the Matrix III

John Lineker and Kevin Belingon at ONE Championship's Inside the Matrix III
John Lineker and Kevin Belingon, Inside the Matrix III Credit: ONE Championship

John Lineker was one of the biggest free agent signings by ONE Championship last year. But while many envisioned a showdown between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and “Hands of Stone,” Lineker is currently a division up at bantamweight, with his sights set on champ Bibiano Fernandes, who with the exception of one stumble in 2018 has held gold in ONE since 2013.

That stumble for Fernandes came against Kevin Belingon, who Lineker was paired up with at Inside the Matrix III. The event, which took place in Kallang, Singapore, was broadcast Friday after being taped earlier in the month.

Early in the fight, Lineker and Belingon traded leg kicks, while the Brazilian patiently walked the former champion down. It was Belingon who landed the first solid overhand, but Lineker soon charged in with a barrage of strikes — only for most to miss. Belingon would fire a spinning back kick, and later employ a spinning back fist and head kick. But Linker’s punches in bunches, when they landed, were harder, doing more damage. Overhand rights, uppercuts, hooks. The fifth-ranked Linker, looking to take Belingon’s top spot, was living up to his nickname.

Belingon fired a spinning hook kick early in round two that was pretty, but fell well short. Lineker was not coming up short with his punches, and Belingon was frequently forced to back up. Lineker landed to the body, and moments later, the Brazilian connected with an uppercut just as Belingon dipped down! Belingon went down, covering up, while Lineker delivered a few more punches for the TKO finish.

No question, with two wins in ONE Championship, Lineker is on his way to a title fight. And he sent a clear message to champ Bibiano Fernandes in becoming the first man to stop Kevin Belingon with strikes.

“Hey Bibiano Fernandes, I’m coming for you, baby!” Lineker called out after the fight. It’s hard to see any result other than a title fight for Lineker after that performance.

Official Result: John Lineker def. Kevin Belingon by TKO, Round 2, 1:16


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