John Lineker lived up to his ‘Hands of Stone’ nickname with a stunning first round knockout against Troy Worthen at ONE on TNT III in Singapore.
Worthen was a late replacement for former Brave FC champion, Stephen Loman and the American absorbed a huge amount of punishment in the opening stanza. To his credit, the Sanford MMA man wore the shots well, with Lineker throwing multiple left-right combinations to the body in the opening stages of the fight.
Lineker’s power is widely renowned, and he came into the contest having scored a second-round knockout against the former champion, Kevin Belingon at ONE ‘Inside the Matrix’ part III in November.
The Brazilian had Worthen constantly on the back foot and showed exceptional distance management against the taller fighter. The right-left-right combination was a seemingly unstoppable weapon for the former UFC star, and he continued to march forward looking for the finish.
The salvo duly came with thirty seconds left on the clock. Worthen dropped his hands and stepped forward only to be cracked with a stinging right hand that left him flat on his back. Lineker was quick to land a single finishing shot to provide the exclamation mark on the stoppage.
His his record extends to 34-9 and a title shot against countryman, Bibiano Fernandes surely awaits. Worthen drops to 7-2.
In the co-main event, Yuya Wakamatsu overcame Reece McLaren via unanimous decision in what was a fascinating battle in the flyweight division.
#4-ranked Wakamatsu had McLaren moving backwards from the outset as he unleashed some big shots. The Australian went for the takedown, but Wakamatsu defended and landed a beautiful short elbow.
He soon found top position after tripping McLaren, but the Australian was busy on his back and tried to work multiple submissions. Wakamatsu responded with more heavy strikes and continued to throw bombs when the pair found their feet.
McLaren was able finish the round strongly through, wrestling Wakamatsu to the floor. A scramble ensued but the 29-year-old found full mount and exploded with some powerful ground and pound before the bell.
The fight continued with a furious pace in the second round, but it was Wakamatsu who was again able to land the more significant strikes on the feet as well showing off more excellent takedown defense.
Wakamatsu loaded up with three big rights hands early in the third stanza. McLaren struggled to bring him down against the cage. Wakamatsu then showed fantastic balance as McLaren went for a single leg in the middle of the circle only to be met by a flurry of hammer fists.
It just wasn’t to be for #5-ranked McLaren who slides to 14-8. Meanwhile, ‘Little Piranha’ is now riding a four-fight winning streak as his record climbs to 14-4.
The 26-year-old’s title credentials were on full display here and he could be an intriguing match-up for the champion, Adriano Moraes.
Korea’s Ok Rae Yoon earned himself a blockbuster clash with Eddie Alvarez at ‘ONE on TNT IV’ with a unanimous decision win over Marat Gafurov.
Gafurov is a former champion at featherweight in ONE and came into the fight Ranked #5 at lightweight. Ok had his striking to thank for the victory and produced a lovely outside leg kick followed by some swift combinations early on.
Gafurov responded by forcing his opponent against the cage and tripping him before dishing out some solid ground and pound. The 36-year-old then wrapped Ok up in a standing body triangle for the majority of the round, but the move appeared to cost him an awful lot of energy without inflicting much damage.
Ok was able to let his hands go once more at the start of the second-using his range and finished off a slick combination with a knee as Gafurov came in for a double leg. The Russian looked to force his opponent against the cage and utilize his wrestling to work his him to the canvas but found himself fighting off a triangle attempt.
Gafurov was breathing heavy in the third round and was there for the taking as Ok began to land at will with his outside leg kicks and one-two combinations. Gafurov responded by going for the takedown but couldn’t capitalize with any strikes or submission attempts.
It left the judges with an easy decision all three voted in favour of Ok who who extends his record to 14-3 and earns the most high-profile fight of his career. Gafurov drops to 18-4.
ONE on TNT Part III, Singapore, April 21st
John Lineker def. Troy Worthen via KO (Punch) at 4:35 of R1
Yuya Wakamatsu def. Reece McLaren via Decision (Unanimous)
Rae Yoon Ok def. Marat Gafurov via Decision (Unanimous)
Miao Li Tao def. Ryuto Sawada via Decision (Unanimous)
Muay Thai: Nieky Holzken def. John Wayne Parr via KO (Head Kick) at 1:23 in R2