A couple new UFC bouts are revealed for upcoming fight cards, such as a re-booking of an exciting bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, together with my first ideas on them.
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 initially supposed to occur at the cancelled UFC 233 occasion, 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 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 hands raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He’s always been one of the very exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for decades and will always be in the hunt for a bonus on any card that he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is 3-0 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win streak overall that includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He is starting to resemble a top prospect at 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, even though it won’t be an easy one to win by any means as Lineker is a superb test for him. I definitely think Sandhagen is 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 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 in the UFC and hasn’t competed since a entry loss to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a choice to Kamaru Usman also it was 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 three years is obviously about. Yakovlev does hold notable wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but overall he has been very inconsistent in the UFC.
Packalen (8-2) is only 1-2 in the UFC and has not fought since 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 generally he’s been a bit of a letdown from the Octagon. This is a struggle between two men who have been inconsistent at the UFC and that haven’t fought in forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev will be a tiny favorite here because the fight is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your money.
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