A couple new UFC bouts have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, such as a re-booking of an exciting bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, along with my very first ideas on these.
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen, UFC on ESPN 3
The UFC has re-booked a bantamweight bout between John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen for UFC on ESPN 3, which takes place April 27 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The bout, which was first supposed to take place in the UFC 233 event, was first reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. Lineker (31-8) is 12-3 overall in the UFC including a 6-1 mark since moving up fulltime to the bantamweight division. He is coming off of back-to-back wins over Brian Kelleher and Marlon Vera, with a loss to TJ Dillashaw sandwiching his previous win streak that included him his hand raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He has always been among the very exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for years and will always be in the search for a bonus on any card that he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is 3-0 in the UFC and is now on a five-fight win streak overall that includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett from the Octagon. He is starting to look like a top prospect in 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, even though it won’t be an easy one to acquire by any means as Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen is a live dog here and worth a look as the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the favorite here based on his body of work from the UFC.
Alexander Yakovlev vs. Teemu Packalen, UFC Fight Night 149
Also announced was a lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 149 involving Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card takes place April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was first reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is just 2-4 overall in the UFC and hasn’t competed since a submission reduction to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a decision to Kamaru Usman also it was presumed by most that he was murdered at this point. Clearly that isn’t the case as he’s booked for another fight, however, the fact he has been off for almost 3 years is obviously about. Yakovlev does hold noteworthy wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but he has been very inconsistent in the UFC.
Packalen (8-2) is only 1-2 in the UFC and hasn’t fought as a KO loss to Marc Diakese in March 2017. All eight of Packalen’s career wins have come by finish, including a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti from the UFC, but in general he’s been a small letdown in the Octagon. This is a fight between two men who have been inconsistent in the UFC and that haven’t fought in forever, so flip a coin . I expect Yakovlev will be a small favorite here since the struggle is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your money.
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