28-Year-Old UFC Bantamweight 30-8-0
March 27, 2018 John Lineker News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Lineker (tooth) will take on Brian Kelleher at UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio, MMAFighting.com reports.
Lineker was last scheduled to face Jimmie Rivera in a high-profile fight at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, but was ultimately forced to withdraw due to a tooth infection. He was originally the replacement for Dominick Cruz (arm) in that fight. Now ready to enter the Octagon again, Lineker will now be pinned against an unranked bantamweight that is 3-1 in the UFC. Sitting as a top-10 bantamweight himself, Lineker has much to lose and little to gain with this matchup. Nonetheless, Lineker likely wishes to stay active after a quiet 2017 with just one fight (he fought four times in 2016). The Brazil native should also have his come crowd behind him in this bout.
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Fantasy AnalysisLineker was already a replacement option to face Rivera, as Dominick Cruz (arm) was the original opponent. With less than a week until UFC 219, there might not be enough time to find yet another replacement on such short notice.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker will step in for the injured Dominick Cruz, who was forced to withdraw from the fight earlier in the month due to a broken arm. "Hands of Stone" is 7-1 in his last eight contests and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night 119 in October. His opponent, Rivera, is on an incredible 20-fight winning streak and is 21-1 overall professionally.
Fantasy AnalysisFew men in the UFC batter their opponent's body as well as Lineker and that skill was once again on full display Saturday. He scored time and time again against an overmatched Vera and had no issue getting inside despite giving up five inches in reach to his opponent. It was Lineker's first fight since breaking his jaw in a unanimous decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw last December. "Hands of Stone" is now 7-1 in his last eight contests and he will continue to be involved in the title picture of the UFC's bantamweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisOct. 28 will mark Lineker's first time back in the octagon since fracturing his jaw during UFC 207 against T.J. Dillashaw last December. He had won six bouts in a row prior to that loss. His opponent, Vera, is currently on a three-fight winning streak. He notably defeated Brian Kelleher by first-round submission and Brad Pickett by third-round knockout earlier in 2017.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker suffered a broken jaw in his bout against T.J. Dillashaw last December. After surgery, the fighter was required by Nevada Athletic Commission to sit out for six months while recovering unless medically cleared earlier. In a recent report, Lineker stated that his recovery is going well and he's looking to get back in the cage near the end of July. He is currently ranked fourth in the bantamweight division but does not have a fight scheduled as of Friday.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker was kept in check by the wrestling skills of T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 207 on Friday, but to add insult to injury, his jaw was also broken. Per the Nevada Athletic Commission, he'll now have to be on the shelf for six months unless medically cleared to fight earlier. Even with the loss, Lineker remains a top-5 UFC bantamweight, and should get another high-profile opponent his next time out.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker was more than deserving of the opportunity that presented itself on Friday, but he no-showed when it mattered the most. Lineker threw a punch of power shots early on, but Dillashaw was nowhere to be found and he did virtually nothing over the final two rounds, particularly in Round 2. Lineker has a chin made of granite, but that doesn't mean you can disregard basic defensive measures. His defense off of his back was non-existent. Any advantage that Lineker's power may have provided him was more than cancelled out by the speed advantage that Dillashaw possessed. The problem for Lineker moving forward is that the two best fighters in his division (Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz) have a similar fighting style and both are terrible match ups for him. The Brazilian is going to win plenty of fights in the future, but he is going to have a problem getting to the top of the mountain.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker has been on a roll the last two years as he's won his last six bouts since July of 2014, improving his professional record to 29-7. The 26-year-old will face a streaky fighter in Dillashaw who has outmatched opponents in nine of his last 11 contests. The bantamweight event will be held Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
Fantasy AnalysisFor the most part, Lineker was willing to chase Dodson around the cage and score in exchanges. In the first round, Dodson was hard to catch. However, in rounds two, three and four Lineker was able to close the distance and score enough to take the rounds. In the fifth round, Dodson went to his wrestling and was able to make an attempted comeback. It was too little too late, and Lineker took the decision. The good news for the Brazilian is that he was able to turn back another high level bantamweight. The bad news is that since his missed weight yet again, he is still too much of a risk to put in a title fight.
Fantasy AnalysisDeath, taxes, and Lineker missing weight. This is the fifth time in his UFC career that he has missed weight, which is a company record. No other fighter has missed weight more than three times. Much like his opponent, Lineker moved up to bantamweight from flyweight, although the Brazilian's reason was that he couldn't safely cut down to the 126-pound flyweight limit on a regular basis. Apparently he can't cut down to the 136-pound bantamweight limit, either. Hands of Stone has won three-straight at bantamweight and five-straight overall. One of the heaviest pound-for-pound hitters in the UFC, Lineker will be looking to land that one big punch that will turn out Dodson's lights on Saturday night.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker is an absolute savage at 135 pounds. He frequently had trouble making the 126-pound flyweight limit, but he looks healthy and strong at bantamweight. The Brazilian loads up on every single punch that he throws and he can turn an opponent's lights out at the blink of an eye. McDonald's chin was the only reason that this fight didn't end a good 20-25 seconds earlier. Lineker has now won five-straight and nine of his last ten. He's not all that far off from fights that will implicate the UFC Bantamweight Title picture.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker overcame a reach disadvantage in his last fight to earn a decision victory over Rob Font, a performance that propelled him to the No. 11 spot in the UFC bantamweight division. He'll now get a chance to put his four-fight winning streak on the line against McDonald, the No. 6 bantamweight who secured a submission victory over Masanori Kanehara earlier this year. McDonald has fought eight times in the UFC, with his only two loses coming to quality opponents in Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. It will be the toughest test for Lineker since moving to bantamweight, but an upset victory here could earn the Brazilian a top-5 opponent his next time out.
Fantasy AnalysisThe hard-hitting Lineker had zero trouble getting inside against the bigger, longer Font. Lineker constantly pressured Font with repeated combinations and controlled the bout for it's entire 15-minute duration. After struggling to make weight on numerous occasions during his time in the flyweight division, Lineker looks far healthier now that he is fighting at bantamweight. Lineker is now 8-1 since dropping his UFC debut back in May 2012 and although the depth in the bantamweight division is insane, Lineker could easily find himself ranked in the top-ten when the rankings are updated on Monday. The UFC and matchmaker Joe Silva need to give Lineker a notable opponent his next time out.
Fantasy AnalysisLineker was Garbrandt's original opponent for UFC Pittsburgh on Sunday night, but had to drop out of the bout due to a case of Dengue fever. Garbrandt made quick work of replacement Augusto Mendes on the short-notice fight, so he'll likely be ready for the rematch as soon as Lineker is. Dengue fever symptoms typically last anywhere from 10-14 days, so although the two won't be ready for UFC 196 on March 5, the fight could happen as early as April.
Fantasy AnalysisDue to this update, the fight between Lineker and Garbrandt will have to be rescheduled to a later date. Dengue fever is a tropical disease causing fever, vomiting and joint pain along with a rash, making the fight a prospect out of the question. As of now, the UFC has not listed a date for a rescheduled bout, or announced a replacement for Lineker.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was 128 seconds of pure mayhem. Lineker looked like he had the stoppage when he unloaded on Rivera early in round one, but Rivera managed to compose himself and the fight continued. Both fighters were slinging wildly and the end came when Lineker managed to lock on a guillotine. Not only did Lineker show off his hands, but he also showed off a granite chin. Lineker, who has a history of missing weight, returned to bantamweight for this fight and it was clear that he was the considerably smaller of the two fighters. It's easy to understand why Lineker's management team thinks he will be best served at 125 pounds. He's awfully tiny to fight at bantamweight.