A few new UFC bouts are shown for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of a thrilling bantamweight fight. Below are the new matchups, together with my first thoughts 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 first supposed to occur in 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 because 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 his hand raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He has always been among the very exciting lighter-weight fighters in the UFC for years and will always be in the search for a bonus on any card that he fights on.
Sandhagen (10-1) is 3-0 in the UFC and is now on a five-fight win streak overall which includes stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett in the Octagon. He’s starting to look like a top prospect at 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, even though it will not be an easy one to acquire by any means since Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen is a live puppy here and worth a look at the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the preferred here according to 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 involving Alexander Yakovlev and Teemu Packalen. The card occurs April 20 in Yubileyny Sports Palace at St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was initially reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is just 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 thought by many that he was murdered at this point. Certainly that is not the case as he is booked for a different struggle, however, the fact he’s been off for almost 3 years is obviously concerning. Yakovlev does hold noteworthy wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but he has been very inconsistent in 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 end, including a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti in the UFC, but in general he’s been a bit of a letdown from the Octagon. This is a struggle between two men who’ve been inconsistent in the UFC and who have not fought forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev is going to be a small favorite here because the struggle is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your cash.
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