Stephen Loman will face arguably the toughest test of his career when he takes on Bibiano Fernandes at ONE on Prime Video 4. The Brazilian might be coming off a loss but he is the most successful fighter in the history of the promotion’s bantamweight division.
But Fernandes is 42 and last won a fight in 2019. Loman was not even on the roster back then but would have seen the former champion getting stopped by John Lineker at ONE: ‘Lights Out’.
That defeat came off a period of prolonged activity and there was some suggestion that Fernandes is there for the taking. But Loman maintains that his opponent is still as sharp as ever despite being in the twilight of his career,
“Even if he’s an older fighter, he hasn’t lost a step. I expect that his explosiveness is still there, as well as his striking. I will be especially watching out for his wrestling and obviously, his jiu-jitsu. Those are the things that I need to prepare for. The match will be fought under MMA rules, so I have no problems battling on the feet or on the ground,” he said.
The huge knockout that ended this epic fight between Stephen Loman and Yusup Saadulaev! 💥😱🤯 #ONEWinterWarriors2 #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/GDIT1ry7CW
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 18, 2021
The Filipino is currently ranked at #5 in the division and is riding a ten fight winning streak that includes two victories inside the ONE Championship cage. Before losing the belt to Lineker, Fernandes fought Loman’s teammate Kevin Belingon for the fourth time.
Fernandes won three of those fights with the sole defeat a debatable split decision. So Loman is well-versed with his opponents’ style and is confident he can take the BJJ black belt out of his comfort zone by keeping the fight standing,
“I expect that he will be trying to keep it on the feet first, then he will use his striking to set up his takedowns, which he usually does to his opponents. He will try to take the fight to the ground, but if I can assert my game, it will be a striking battle.”
Stephen Loman 🇵🇭 edges out Shoko Sato in a battle of the bantamweights! #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship#ONEX | PPV: 8PM SGT/8AM ET | Order PPV: https://t.co/eBUfsODAFL pic.twitter.com/RR0Ffgaamj
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 26, 2022
Five of Loman’s fifteen wins have come via knockout. Having suffered a brutal stoppage in his last outing this has the makings of a dangerous fight for Fernandes.
The former Brave bantamweight champion may well feel that Fernandes could be susceptible to his power. With the fight between Fabricio Andrade and John Lineker ending in a no contest after the UFC veteran missed weight the division is currently without a champion.
The winner of this bout could be in line for a title shot and Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is adamant that Loman has the potential to be a future champion,
“Stephen is one of the longest-tenured world champions we have on this team. He already won multiple world titles in other organizations and his skills and talent are definitely ONE world champion material.”