A few new UFC bouts have been shown for upcoming fight cards, such as a re-booking of an exciting bantamweight fight. Below are the new matchups, together with my first ideas 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 initially supposed to take place at the cancelled 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 full-time to the bantamweight division. He’s coming from 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 hands 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 decades and will always be in the hunt for a bonus on any card he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is currently 3-0 in the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall that includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He is starting to resemble a top prospect in 135lbs and has earned this matchup against Lineker, though it won’t be an easy one to win by any means since Lineker is a superb test for him. I definitely think Sandhagen is a live puppy worth a look at the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the preferred here based on 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 between Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card takes place April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was first reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is only 2-4 overall in the UFC and hasn’t competed since a entry reduction to Zak Cummings in November 2016. Before that, Yakovlev lost a choice to Kamaru Usman also it was presumed by many that he was murdered at this point. Clearly that is not the case as he’s booked for a different struggle, however, the fact he’s been away for nearly three years is obviously 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 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 entry over Thibault Gouti in the UFC, but generally he has been a bit of a letdown in the Octagon. This is a fight between two guys who have been inconsistent in the UFC and that haven’t fought in forever, so flip a coin . I expect Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here since the struggle is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your cash.
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