John Lineker made a serious statement at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The UFC veteran finished #1 ranked bantamweight Kevin Belingon early in the second round at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part III’ to set up a potential title shot.
During his UFC career Lineker was as renowned for his inability to make 125lbs as his heavy hands. But since moving up to bantamweight he has had no issues at the scales and seems to be just as powerful, as Belingon discovered to his cost.
The Brazilian had been out of action for over a year due to the pandemic but showed no signs of ring rust as he overpowered the Filipino. It was a high-octane affair that saw both fighters exchange powerful leg kicks at the start of round one.
Hands of stone
Lineker quickly lived up to his nickname, ‘Hands of Stone,’ and landed with a beautiful counter right. Belingon had some good moments too and found joy with his signature turning back kick to the liver. Lineker then uncorked a potent uppercut towards the end of the round that would be a sign of things to come.
Lineker started the second round on the front foot and had Belingon retreating after tasting some stinging shots to the body. He continued to stalk the Team Lakay star, landing a solid jab.
Sealing the deal
Belingon replied with a one-two combination but Lineker continued to pressure. A jab was followed by a massive uppercut that sent Belingon tumbling.
From there, Lineker went to work with his left, sealing the deal with four more punches as the referee waved it off. It was the first time Belingon had lost via TKO and his record slips to 20-8.
Lineker meanwhile, has delivered back-to-back victories since signing for ONE and will almost certainly have earned himself a title shot against Bibiano Fernandes. His record now stands at 33-9.
In the co-main event, Geje Eustaquio scored a unanimous decision victory over South Korea’s Song Min Jong. The Filipino landed some lively outside leg kicks and overhand rights in the first round as he began to find his range in this catchweight contest.
Song came into the bout riding a four-fight winning streak and put together some solid combinations, but it was Eustaquio who continued to look the sharper of the pair in the second stanza.
The former champion caught a kick and replied with a right hook as he started to mix up his strikes. The overhand right coupled with a downward elbow provided some standout moments for Eustaquio as he showed off the depth in his arsenal.
Song went for a standing arm triangle in the third round as he sought to claw his way back into the contest but Eustaquio weathered the storm and landed some decent shots from top position.
He soon had a submission attempt of his own as he looked to sink in a knee bar but was unable to get the finish. Overall, Song made a good account of himself but Eustaquio had done enough to impress the judges. The victory extends his record to 14-8.
Best of the rest
Elsewhere, there was a big win for Japanese phenom Hiroshi Minowa (12-2). The former Shooto champion overcame fifth-ranked strawweight Lito Adiwang (11-3) who was riding a seven-fight winning streak.
The other stand-out result was another win Murad Ramazanov (10-0). The Dagestani showcased his incredible top-pressure and vicious ground and pound as he beat Hiroyuki Tetsuka (9-4) via unanimous decision in their welterweight bout.