A few new UFC bouts have been shown for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of a thrilling bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, along 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 take place in the 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 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 getting 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 3-0 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win streak overall which comprises stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He’s 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 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 favorite here according to his 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 involving Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card occurs April 20 in 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 hasn’t competed since a submission loss to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a choice to Kamaru Usman also it had been presumed by most that he had been murdered at this point. Clearly that isn’t true as he’s booked for another struggle, but the fact he has been away for almost 3 years is clearly about. Yakovlev does hold notable wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but overall he has been very inconsistent at the UFC.
Packalen (8-2) is only 1-2 in the UFC and has not fought as 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 entry over Thibault Gouti in the UFC, but generally he’s been a bit of a letdown from the Octagon. This is a fight between two men who’ve been inconsistent in the UFC and who haven’t fought in forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev will be a small favorite here since the struggle is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your cash.
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