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A few new UFC bouts are revealed for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of an exciting 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 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 occur at the 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 hand raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He’s 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 currently 3-0 at the UFC and is currently on a five-fight win streak 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, though it will not be an easy one to acquire by any means since Lineker is a superb test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen will be a live dog worth a look at the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the favorite 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 involving Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card occurs April 20 at Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was first 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 decision to Kamaru Usman also it was thought by most that he was murdered at this time. Certainly that isn’t true as he is booked for another fight, however, the fact he has been away for almost 3 years is obviously concerning. 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 as 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 in general he has been a small letdown in the Octagon. This is a fight between two guys who’ve been inconsistent in the UFC and who haven’t fought forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev is going to 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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