A couple new UFC bouts are shown for upcoming fight cards, such as 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 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 in the UFC 233 event, was first reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. Lineker (31-8) is 12-3 overall from the UFC including a 6-1 mark since moving up fulltime to the bantamweight division. He is coming from back-to-back wins over Brian Kelleher and Marlon Vera, with a reduction to TJ Dillashaw sandwiching his past win streak that included him his hand raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He has always 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 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 earned this matchup against Lineker, even though it won’t be an easy one to win by any means since Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen is a live puppy worth a look as the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the favorite here according to 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 between Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card occurs April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was initially reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is only 2-4 overall from the UFC and hasn’t competed since a submission loss to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a decision to Kamaru Usman and it was presumed by many that he had been retired at this time. Certainly that isn’t true as he’s booked for a different struggle, but the fact he’s been off for nearly three years is clearly about. Yakovlev does hold noteworthy wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but overall he has been very inconsistent in the UFC.
Packalen (8-2) is just 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 end, including a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti in the UFC, but generally he’s been a bit of a letdown from the Octagon. This is a struggle between two men who have been inconsistent in the UFC and who haven’t fought forever, so flip a coin . I expect Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here because the struggle is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your cash.
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