This appears in abs-cbnnews.com
At the One FC: Rise of Kings weigh-in: like a grenade waiting to go off
by rick olivares pic by brosi gonzales
There’s flash and there’s some trash. Well, trash talking that is. Frenchman Arnaud LePont (10-1-0) pounced on the stage during the weigh in for the One Fighting Championship held at the Cathay Atrium wearing a hockey mask painted in black. If you were expecting Jason of those Friday the 13th slasher flicks, LePont was far from the type who wanted to rip opponent Shinya Aoki’s guts out. He smiled by way of taunting and when the Japanese mixed martial artist was introduced on stage, LePont pulled out a magazine that had a headline that screamed: BEATING AOKI FOR DUMMIES".
Aoki (30-6-1) on the other hand looked like a shark while on the scales with black and cold eyes. When asked what he thought of his fight – the main event of One Fighting Championship: Rise of Kings that will be fought tomorrow at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – Aoki simply said in his raspy voice: “It will be a good fight.”
LePont didn’t fall for that Zen-like tranquility that the Japanese exuded. “He said he will knock me out? I will bleeping knock him out,” he promised as he signed my souvenir program.
Earlier Dutch kick boxer Melvin Menhoef (25-9-1) got right into opponent Ryo “Rambo” Kawamura’s face that saw the Japanese knockout artist’s face momentarily flash with anger.
“Lotsa testosterone in the atmosphere,” said Jens Pulver to no one in particular. “Gonna be a great fight night tomorrow.”
The seventh Mixed Martial Arts event organized by One FC, Rise of Kings promises to be an explosive one as 20 of Asia’s top fighters collide in Singapore. For some it’s further establishing themselves as some of the top fighters in the world. For some, it’s about survival.
As the music blared and taunts were hurled, Kevin Belingon (9-2-0), the lone Filipino fighter in this event, sat inside the dressing room unperturbed. He looked a man who didn’t want to be there. But for Belingon, it was all about keeping his focus on what needed doing – coming away with a win against Yusup Saadulaev (9-1-0), a Russian fighter known for his ruthlessness.
The year 2012 hasn’t gone well for the man they call “The Silencer”. Belingon lost his last two One FC fights: a first round loss to Masakazu Imanari via reverse heel hook in War of the Lions last March 31 in Kallang, Singapore, and a unanimous decision loss to Soo Chul Kim who never let him in the match in the recent Pride of a Nation in Manila.
Belingon sustained an eye injury during his training for his fight with Kim and it somewhat bothered him. “Pero walang excuse,” he admitted. The Ifugao native was all too happy to see a familiar face (the author) who deigned to pop his face inside a locker room that was teeming with bad asses.
Belingon refuses to think that his career is at a crossroads following the string of losses. “Pagsubok lang,” he rationalizes.
He thinks that fighting in Singapore will be good for him. There were a lot of expectations in Manila. He expressed disappointment at being the only Filipino not to win in Pride of the Nation. “Ganyan talaga. Bawi na lang. Pero focused talaga ako ngayon.”
Outside the dressing room there’s bedlam. There’s rock music. Some flash and some trash.
“Tomorrow,” says Pulver to no one again in particular, “is like a grenade is going to go off.”