A few new UFC bouts are shown for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of a thrilling bantamweight fight. Below are the newest matchups, together with my first ideas on these.
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 first supposed to take place at the cancelled 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 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 has consistently been one of the most 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 currently 3-0 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall which comprises stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He’s beginning to look like a top prospect in 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, even though it will not be an easy one to win by any means since Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen will be a live puppy here and worth a look at the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the favorite 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 involving 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 just 2-4 overall in 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 was presumed by most that he was retired at this time. Clearly that is not true as he is booked for a different struggle, however, the fact he has been off for almost three 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 just 1-2 in the UFC and hasn’t fought as a KO loss to Marc Diakese in March 2017. All eight of Packalen’s career wins have come by end, such as a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti from the UFC, but generally he has been a bit of a 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 expect Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here because the struggle is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your cash.
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