John Lineker (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

ONE Championship: Inside the Matrix III Preview and Predictions

After a spectacular event that resulted in Kiamrian Abbasov defending his ONE welterweight championship against James Nakashima in a stunning fourth-round stoppage, ONE Championship returns to action on Friday, Nov. 13, to deliver yet another exciting card. ONE Championship: Inside the Matrix III features a bantamweight clash between former ONE champion Kevin Belingon and former UFC contender John Lineker, who is making his sophomore appearance with the promotion after a successful ONE debut against Muin Garufov.

Belingon is coming off the third fight in an epic trilogy with Bibiano Fernandes that snapped his impressive seven-fight winning streak. Now, the former champion, who has met Fernandes four times total in his career, looks to get back in the win column and build his case for another shot at ONE gold. Lineker, on the other hand, is still new to the promotion and will look to no doubt leapfrog the current ONE rankings with an impressive victory over a staple like Belingon as he pursues his own dreams of wearing a ONE belt.

The co-headliner is a catchweight bout between Geje Eustaquio and Ming Jong Song. However, the majority of the viewers will have their attention focused on the bouts involving Murad Ramazanov and Yuri Simoes.


Ramazanov makes his sophomore appearance with the promotion after a successful debut in which he knocked out Myung Ho Bae in the first round and extended his undefeated record to 9-0. The Russain native now draws a lightweight clash with Hiroyuki Tetsuka who is on an impressive four win streak after a successful ONE debut of his own.

The second bout of the evening features the ONE debut of the aforementioned Simoes, who is regarded as one of the most prolific Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners active today. Simoes earned his black belt under the tutelage of legendary combat veteran Ricardo Vieira. The ONE newcomer has compiled a 77-21 grappling record, won the ADCC competition in two different weight classes, and holds a lengthy list of further accomplishments in grappling and BJJ.

ONE Championship: Inside the Matrix III starts at 8:30 a.m. ET and is composed of five fights that are sure to deliver a card to remember. American fans can view the entire show for free on B/R Live. International fans can tune in on the ONE app.

Kevin Belingon’s last two fights ended in disappointment against Bibiano Fernandes. Can he turn the tables and score an eye-opening victory over former UFC contender John Lineker?

Belingon’s rivalry with Fernandes and the four fights we have seen as a result have certainly formed one of the recent storylines to define ONE and its success with the viewers. The second bout between the two men took place in 2018 and resulted in a very back-and-forth fight between the two competitors. Belingon consistently attacked Fernandes with spinning kicks to the legs and body, which resulted in the champion attempting to tie up Belingon and get the fight to the ground. The most significant moment of the contest came at the end of the fourth round when Belingon dropped Fernandes with a straight and decisively won the frame. It ended in a split decision favoring Belingon and the most memorable moment of his professional career. Belingon lost his title in a rematch to Fernandes due to illegal elbows. The pair ran it back for a four time, where Fernandes proved to the world he was still the best in the business by submitting Belingon in the second round and closing out the rivalry.

Now, Belingon returns to the ONE cage determined as ever to solidify himself as the top contender in an effort to get a crack at the champion yet again. The former top UFC bantamweight contender Lineker stands in his way.

Lineker was once regarded as a top-five UFC bantamweight. “The Hands of Stone’s” highlights can be found on YouTube and UFC Fight Pass. As his name suggests, Lineker remains one of the most powerful strikers to ever grace the Octagon. He has 14 knockout victories throughout his career. His finishes of Brian Kelleher and Michael McDonald are especially devastating. The Brazilian is nowhere near done, either. After compiling a 13-3 UFC record, Lineker was released by the UFC and recently signed with ONE. He made his debut against Muin Gafurov and won via unanimous decision. In Belingon, he is now taking on one of the most seasoned ONE bantamweights in the game.

This fight is one of the most fan-friendly affairs the promotion could have made. Belingon and Lineker have combined for 24 knockout victories and are known strikers who boast power, toughness, and a desire to stand and bang. For Belingon, the game plan will be fairly straightforward: avoid the power of Lineker by controlling the distance with kicks and constant movement as Lineker constantly tries to get in close to fire off his notorious left hooks and power uppercuts.

Once it is all said and done, Belingon will have to contend with a three-fight skid as he drops a close and competitive decision to Lineker. Lineker brings a level of experience that is rare for the career of a 30-year-old combatant. The Brazilian has over 40 professional fights under his belt and only two losses since 2014, and those came at the hands of T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen. The Brazilian wins via unanimous decision and moves one step closer to a shot at ONE gold.

Murad Ramazanov is perhaps the most interesting prospect on the card. The undefeated middleweight scored a first-round finish in his ONE debut. Should fans expect a repeat performance when he clashes with Hiroyuki Tetsuka?

The Russian has been nothing short of impressive in his short and exciting career thus far, and he will likely score another key victory over fellow lightweight Tetsuka. However, Tetsuka is certainly no pushover. He also makes his sophomore appearance with the promotion while riding a four-fight winning streak. The Japanese fighter has quietly established himself as a successful knockout artist in his own right by scoring five knockouts in the course of compiling eight professional victories. To keep the streak alive, Tetsuka will have to find a way to negate Ramazanov’s attack.

Ramazanov will hold a distinct height advantage over the smaller yet powerful Tetsuka. He will plan to use his sharp jab and inside leg kicks to set up powerful takedown attempts in an effort to get Tetsuka to the mat, where he will pummel his opponent with short ground strikes while looking to advance positions. The Dagestani standout is comfortable wherever the fight might go and is just as likely to submit his opponent as he is to knock them out.

Tetsuka will do everything in his power to keep the fight standing as he attempts to bait Ramazanov into engaging in wild exchanges in an effort to land one of his signature left hooks or straight rights that have decimated his opponents in the past. Tetsuka throws with power, but he also has the ability to throw in volume due to his incredible pace and cardio.

Thus, the outcome of this fight will ultimately come down to Tetsuka’s ability to keep this fight on the feet so he can deliver another highlight-reel knockout and hand Ramazanov his first professional loss. Ramazanov will exchange strategically with Tetsuka on the feet before securing the takedown of his choice and controlling the majority of the round with sound ground control and powerful strikes. Ramanazov wins a unanimous decision and extends his undefeated streak to double-digit bouts.

Yuri Simoes is set to make his MMA debut on this card. He’s immediately being thrown in there against a 15-fight veteran. What can we expect from the world-class grappler?

ONE has certainly done no favors for Simoes by matching him up with Fan “King Kong” Rong. The former retired Chinese soldier has compiled an 11-2 record while averaging a 91 percent finishing rate. Rong is a formidable grappler who has six submission victories and is extremely comfortable mixing it up both standing and on the ground. He most recently knocked out Sherif Mohamed in his sophomore appearance with ONE and now draws perhaps the most highly anticipated arrival to ONE in quite some time.

Simoes is by far one of the most highly respected and talented grapplers in combat sports today. The 30-year-old Brazilian native recently decided to transition to MMA and signed with ONE in 2019. He’s on the hunt to claim the middleweight title which he believes is his destiny. To embark on this journey successfully, he will have to defeat Rong, who plans on spoiling this highly anticipated debut.

Rong’s grappling game is certainly good, but as everyone who watches and/or trains combat sports knows, there are levels to “good grappling.” Simoes is simply on another level, and it will be apparent on Friday. He will briefly exchange with Rong on the feet before taking the fight to the ground, where he will outpace his Chinese foe and secure a position of his liking. Simoes will shine with a first-round submission win and quickly enter the middleweight contender mix.

Fight Picks

Fight Pick
Main Card
BW: John Lineker vs. Kevin Belingon Lineker
Catchweight (141 pounds): Song Min Jong vs. Geje Eustaquio Jong
WW: Murad Ramazanov vs. Hiroyuki Tetsuka Ramazanov
MW: Yuri Simoes vs. Fan Rong Simoes
StrawW: Hiroba Minowa vs. Lito Adiwang Adiwang