Line them up, and John “Hands Of Stone” Lineker will knock them down.
The #5-ranked contender scored a second-round TKO over former ONE Bantamweight World Champion and current #1 contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon in their main event clash at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III, a previously recorded show that aired on Friday, 13 November.
The action kicked off at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with Lineker tracking Belingon’s movements around the Circle. It took a minute for both men to engage, but once they did, it was clear that neither of the striking dynamos wanted to go the distance.
After an exchange of low kicks, Lineker opened up with a jab and a right hook that Belingon ducked into and avoided taking the brunt of – a move that would later be his downfall.
Belingon followed up the attack with a crushing low kick and side kick to Lineker’s lead leg, but the stocky Brazilian chugged along like a steam locomotive leaving the station.
As Lineker picked up momentum, the Filipino planted a right body kick into his rival’s ribcage. The American Kickboxing Academy product took it well and launched a right hand that grazed his foe’s head. “Hands Of Stone” then let loose with a flurry of wild, looping punches that Belingon craftily avoided.
Then, about two minutes into the bout, “The Silencer” threw a spinning back kick at Lineker’s liver -– the same one he finished Andrew Leone with two-and-a-half years ago – but the Brazilian curled up and deflected it with his right elbow.
“Hands Of Stone” continued his onslaught, but amid his furious combinations, Belingon tested his reactions with a spinning back kick. Lineker, having seen a handful of those kicks already, easily evaded it.
The height of the action came when both men stood in front of each other and engaged in a fearless exchange of punches that could’ve crumbled either competitor had they connected cleanly.
When the dust settled, Lineker landed a right uppercut, but Belingon stepped in with a side kick that almost decapitated the Brazilian. Despite his efforts, the Filipino, showing signs that the fight was wearing on him, backpedaled around the Circle for the remainder of the round.
After a chance to regroup, Belingon looked lighter on his feet in round two. He worked his wushu kicks from the outside and avoided most of what Lineker threw at him.
But his downfall came every time he tried to stand and trade with “Hands Of Stone.” Lineker was just too fast and would light Belingon up with four shots in a matter of seconds. The Filipino attempted his own three-piece, but the Brazilian absorbed it and pressed his opponent into the Circle Wall.
By this point, the Brazilian had picked up on Belingon’s defense. Every time Lineker threw a jab-right hook combination, “The Silencer” would curl forward and shell up.
So, when Lineker threw his next jab and the top-ranked contender shelled up, “Hands Of Stone” had a right uppercut waiting for him. The punch bounced off the Filipino’s forehead, forcing Belingon to turn away and drop to his knees.
Lineker jumped in for the finish, landing four looping left hooks before the referee stopped the contest at the 1:16 mark of round two.
The TKO win moved Lineker’s record to 33-9 and may have earned him the #1 spot in ONE Championship’s bantamweight rankings.