A couple new UFC bouts have been revealed 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 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 at the cancelled 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 full-time to the bantamweight division. He is coming off of back-to-back wins over Brian Kelleher and Marlon Vera, with a reduction 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 consistently been one of the very 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 3-0 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall that comprises stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett from the Octagon. He is beginning to look like a top prospect at 135lbs and has made this matchup against Lineker, though it won’t be an easy one to acquire by any means since Lineker is a great test for him. I certainly think Sandhagen will be a live dog here and worth a look as 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 between 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 only 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 choice to Kamaru Usman and it had been thought by many that he was murdered at this point. Certainly that isn’t the case as he’s booked for a different fight, however, the fact he has been away for nearly 3 years is clearly concerning. Yakovlev does hold notable 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, such as a bonus-winning submission 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 at the UFC and who have not fought in forever, so flip a coin . I hope Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here because the fight is in Russia, but he isn’t really someone you can trust with your cash.
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