Bibiano Fernandes might no longer be the reigning ONE Championship bantamweight king but there are still plenty of fighters looking for a shot at the Brazilian. Stephen Loman is the latest to throw his hat into the ring and the Filipino believes he has a blueprint to beat the former champion.
Loman thinks the key to beating Fernandes is to stick with the following strategy,
“It’s about pressuring him. Could be in striking, wrestling, in the ground. It’s all the facets of MMA,” he said.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 18, 2021
Past his prime
He also shot down suggestions that Fernandes was past his prime. The 42 year old has not won a fight since 2019 but Loman does not see any signs that he is slowing down,
“I don’t think so. He’s still the champion Bibiano that we know. He still has that striking and wrestling prowess, that superb control over his opponent on the ground and submission maneuvers. He didn’t rust at all,” he said.
Fernandes lost to John Lineker at ONE: ‘Lights Out’. Loman, who is on a ten fight winning streak, is currently #3 in the ONE Championship rankings.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 26, 2022
Ready to challenge
He was initially scheduled to face Lineker last year but the bout fell through. It is a fight he is still interested in and the 30 year old says he is ready to challenge for the title right now,
“I’m more than 100% ready to fight for the title if they offer me the fight. I will pour my everything into it. This is my grail, to be the next title-holder, and following the footsteps of my seniors who became world champions on their division,” he said.
Fabricio Andrade established himself as the #1 contender with a win over Kwon Kon Il at ONE 158 last Friday. But if the matchmakers decide against putting together another all Brazilian bantamweight title clash Loman must surely be next in line.
One thing he won’t be doing is taking on #5 ranked Kevin Belingon. The two train together at Team Lakay and Loman made it clear there is no prospect of them ever fighting one another,
“We’re on the same team, same family. It’s a no for me,” he said.