JOHN LINEKER VS CORY SANDHAGEN RE-BOOKED FOR UFC MIAMI
A couple new UFC bouts are shown for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of a thrilling bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, together with my first thoughts on these.
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen, UFC on ESPN 3
The UFC has re-booked that 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 occur at the cancelled UFC 233 occasion, 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 full-time to the bantamweight division. He’s coming off of back-to-back wins over Brian Kelleher and Marlon Vera, with a reduction 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’s consistently been one of the very exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for years and will always be in the search for a bonus on any card he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is currently 3-0 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall which includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He’s beginning to resemble a top prospect in 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, though it will not be an easy one to win by any means since Lineker is a great test for him. I definitely think Sandhagen will be a live puppy here and worth a look as the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the preferred here according to his own body of work in the UFC.
Alexander Yakovlev vs. Teemu Packalen, UFC Fight Night 149
Also announced was a lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 149 between Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card takes place April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was initially reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is only 2-4 overall from the UFC and has not competed since a submission loss to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a choice to Kamaru Usman also it had been thought by most that he was retired at this point. Clearly that isn’t true as he’s booked for another struggle, but the fact he’s been away for nearly three years is obviously concerning. Yakovlev does hold noteworthy wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but he has been very inconsistent at the UFC.
Packalen (8-2) is just 1-2 in the UFC and hasn’t fought since a KO loss to Marc Diakese in March 2017. All eight of Packalen’s career wins have come by finish, such as a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti in the UFC, but generally he has been a bit of a letdown from the Octagon. This is a fight between two men who have been inconsistent in the UFC and that have not fought in forever, so flip a coin . I expect Yakovlev will be a small favorite here since the struggle is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your money.
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