A couple new UFC bouts are revealed for upcoming fight cards, including a re-booking of a thrilling 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 initially supposed to take place in 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 because moving up fulltime 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 his hands raised over John Dodson, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera and Michael McDonald. He’s 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 at the UFC and is now on a five-fight win series overall which comprises stoppage wins over Iuri Alcantara and Austin Arnett from the Octagon. He’s beginning to resemble a top prospect at 135lbs and has earned this matchup against Lineker, 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 will be a live dog here and worth a look at the younger fighter, but Lineker deserves to be the preferred here based on his own 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 at St. Petersburg, Russia. The bout was first reported by MMABetz. Yakovlev (23-8-1) is only 2-4 overall from 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 thought by most that he was retired at this point. Certainly that is not the case as he’s booked for another struggle, but the fact he’s been away for nearly 3 years is clearly about. Yakovlev does hold noteworthy wins over Paul Daley and Gray Maynard, but overall 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 end, including a bonus-winning submission over Thibault Gouti from the UFC, but in general he has been a bit of a letdown in the Octagon. This is a struggle between two men who have been inconsistent in the UFC and that have not fought forever, so flip a coin here. I hope Yakovlev is going to be a tiny favorite here since the struggle is in Russia, but he’s not really someone you can trust with your money.
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