With his eyes firmly set on putting together another knockout performance this Friday night, #5-ranked ONE bantamweight and former UFC veteran John “Hands of Stone” Lineker is determined to beat former titleholder and current #1-ranked contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon in order to signal his readiness to compete for the ONE World Title.
Lineker faces Belingon in the main event of ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III, a previously-recorded event from Singapore scheduled for air on Friday, 13 November.
“I am coming into ONE Championship prepared for anyone. I am ready to go against [Belingon]. I don’t think he can stop me. He is definitely one of the toughest opponents I have faced,” said Lineker.
“I am feeling great and ready for my next bout. My preparation for Belingon has been one of the best of my career, and I believe I am going to be able to show what I came here for, and that is to be the World Champion in ONE Championship.”
Lineker, who comes from Paranaguá, Paraná in Brazil, wants to build off his latest performance, a one-sided drubbing of highly-regarded Muin Gafurov in his ONE Championship debut last October 2019.
Against Belingon, however, Lineker will face a menacing threat with a penchant for highlight-reel finishes.
In many ways, Lineker is taking on a man with a similar fighting style. The two are known finishers. Nearly half of Lineker’s 32 career victories have ended in thrilling knockout wins, while Belingon owns some of the most incredible knockouts in ONE Championship.
But one area Lineker holds a decided advantage over Belingon is in experience, and he’s used that wisdom to prepare himself for a wily opponent.
“I studied lots of his videos. He seems to be a very versatile opponent. He likes to keep punching, he moves very well, but I think he is going to look for the exchanges. This is his style, just like mine. I’m going to look for a knockout in this fight and I know I can get the best out of the exchanges,” said Lineker.
“Maybe after our fight, I can win over some fans from the Philippines because of my performance.”
ONE Championship returns this Friday night, 13 November with ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III. The event will also see performances from Belingon’s Team Lakay brethren in former flyweight king Geje Eustaquio, and rising star Lito Adiwang.
Elsewhere on the card is the much-anticipated MMA debut of 2-time former ADCC World Champion, Yuri Simoes.
Lineker believes that by beating Belingon, he could set himself up against reigning champion Fernandes in an all-Brazilian showdown.
“I want the world champion. I don’t think there would be a reason for them not to give him to me if I am fighting the #1 contender. And if I beat [Belingon], that should be the way to go,” said Lineker.
“I know Bibiano is a tough opponent, he has high-level jiu-jitsu, but no one can stop me at the moment. I know I have the edge. I am working really hard [to get that World Title], and I will get it.”
Watch the event this Friday, 13 November on One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT). One Sports will air the event on a same-day delay at 9 p.m. PHT. Additionally, TV5 will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT.