A couple new UFC bouts have been revealed for upcoming fight cards, such as a re-booking of a thrilling bantamweight fight. Below are the new matchups, along 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 take place at 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 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 hands raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He’s consistently been among the most exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for years and will always be in the hunt for a bonus on any card that he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is currently 3-0 at the UFC and is currently on a five-fight win streak overall that includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett from the Octagon. He is 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 as 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 based on 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 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 decision to Kamaru Usman also it had been presumed by most that he was retired at this time. Certainly that isn’t the case as he’s booked for a different struggle, however, the fact he’s been away for nearly 3 years is clearly concerning. 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 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 end, including a bonus-winning entry over Thibault Gouti from the UFC, but generally he has been a small letdown in the Octagon. This is a struggle between two guys who’ve been inconsistent in the UFC and who have not fought forever, so flip a coin . I hope Yakovlev is going to be a small favorite here because the fight is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your cash.
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