John Lineker is coming off two damaging fights with Fabricio Andrade. While only one of them actually ended in defeat he took a beating from the younger man on both occasions.
The first fight finished with Lineker curled up in agony on the cage floor after Andrade landed a low blow. The second ended when the UFC veteran’s corner decided not to send him out for the final round.
He will be back in action next month. Lineker faces Kim Jae Woong at ONE Fight Night 13 and wants to prove that he is still a top contender in the bantamweight division despite the recent defeat,
“What excites me the most about this fight, regardless of the opponent, is that I have the opportunity to get back in the game and pursue my goal, which is to fight for the title again.”
We're running it back on February 24 😤 as John Lineker and Fabricio Andrade rematch for the vacant ONE Bantamweight World Title on ONE Fight Night 7 on Prime Video! 🏆 @fabriciowdb #ONEFightNight7 #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/L8j2vkBzbR
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) February 6, 2023
Physical and mental
That fight was in February. So Lineker has not had to wait too long to get back in the ring and says he has been working hard on both the physical and mental side of the game,
“This time away from ONE, I used it to make a good recovery. First in my physique, then in my mind. I reflected on how to get back into the game, how to stay focused, so I worked on that psychological part a lot.”
He describes his upcoming opponent as a ‘boxer’. It will be Lineker’s second time fighting in the ring at Lumpinee Stadium and the Brazilian believes it will be a good old fashioned striking match,
“He’s very versatile, he works well on takedown defenses, and he’s also a guy who kicks a lot. But I believe that in striking, we will put on a show because we both like striking more.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) October 8, 2021
But while the two bantamweights might have a similar style Lineker has identified one key difference. He is very confident trading punches inside the pocket and sees Woong as a fighter who likes to work from range,
“He is a striker who works in the long distance, and I like to work more in the short distance. I believe that I can hit him more with my striking.”
Lineker has spent nearly seen rounds inside the ring or cage with Andrade and has clearly come off second best. There wouldn’t be too much interest in a trilogy fight between the two Brazilians at this stage.
But the UFC veteran is currently ranked #1 in the division. If he can get back to winning ways it will be difficult to deny him that title shot and for Lineker this is the ultimate goal,
“I think that whatever fight I do from now on, what will excite and motivate me is this opportunity to seek the title again. So, regardless of the opponent, my goal is to fight for the title again.”