Bibiano Fernandes has poured cold water on John Lineker's victory over Kevin Belingon.
Fernandes was scheduled to fight Lineker at ONE: ‘X’ in December, but the show was postponed due to pandemic concerns. Lineker earned his shot at Fernandes after an impressive display against Belingon, where he finished the former champion in the second round at ONE: Inside the Matrix Part III in November 2020.
Lineker followed that with a win vs. Troy Worthen to seal his title shot. Fernandes, however, downplayed Lineker’s achievements.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Fernandes said:
“You know what? The truth is, I don’t think Belingon is that good. I don’t think so really. The first time I fought that guy I finished him. Done. Finished. The second time, people tried pushing him to be the next champion. The number four fight I choked him. If you look – he didn’t hold his belt for long. He won the belt and lost the belt right away. I think he’s a good fighter, but I’m not impressed by John Lineker [beating him)”
Fernandes and Belingon went toe-to-toe on four occasions between 2016 and 2019. In each encounter the title was on the line, and Fernandes won three times.
Now enjoying his second reign as champion, Fernandes is the promotion's most successful beltholder. As a former DREAM champion as well, the 41 year old is an MMA legend.
Fernandes confident of submitting Lineker
Due to the pandemic, Fernandes hasn't competed since submitting Belingon in Tokyo at ONE: Century Part II. Since Lineker signed with ONE after leaving the UFC, 'Hands of Stone' has been rumored to fight Fernandes. The pair have been forced to wait a long time, with no date currently set for their clash.
Each did have an opportunity to confront the other on a media call last month, where both fighters said they will knock the other out. Given his exceptional submission skills, Fernandes is also confident he can make Lineker tap for the first time in almost a decade.
“If I get one choke on John Lineker? I finish that guy," said Fernandes. "One choke. If I close one triangle, I know I can finish that guy. My triangle, my D’arce, whatever. I know he cannot get out. I 100% guarantee he won’t get out. His jiu jitsu’s ok. He’s not the kind of guy who can butterfly or try something new. His jiujitsu is for escape not to attack. He tries foot locks a bit; he goes for a guillotine sometimes. That’s the thing he has. I’m ready for that guy,”