A couple new UFC bouts have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of an exciting bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, along with my very first ideas on them.
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 from the UFC including a 6-1 mark since moving up full-time 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 previous win streak that included him getting his hand raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He has always been among the most exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for decades and will always be in the search for a bonus on any card he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is 3-0 in the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall that comprises stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett from the Octagon. He’s beginning to look like a top prospect at 135lbs and has earned this matchup against Lineker, even though it will not be an easy one to win by any means as Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen will be a live dog worth a look as the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the preferred 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 takes place April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was initially reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is just 2-4 overall from the UFC and has not competed since a submission reduction to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a choice to Kamaru Usman also it was thought by many that he was retired at this point. Clearly that is not true as he’s booked for another struggle, however, the fact he’s been away for almost 3 years is clearly about. Yakovlev does hold notable 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 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 in the Octagon. This is a fight between two guys who have been inconsistent at the UFC and who have not fought in forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here since the fight is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your money.
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