The crown has barely settled on Fabricio Andrade’s head and already there are challengers looking to snatch it from the Brazilian. He finally became the ONE Championship bantamweight champion last month.
First in line for a shot at Andrade is Stephen Loman. At least that’s what the #2 ranked Filipino thinks and he believes he is ‘next on the list’,
“I felt thrilled when he mentioned my name. He knows I’m next on his list and for sure, I won’t back down from this fight.”
Stephen Loman 🇵🇭 MANHANDLED Bibiano Fernandes to take the win by unanimous decision! Should he face the winner of Lineker vs. Andrade II? 👑 pic.twitter.com/mKbJhfTpxC
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) November 19, 2022
There are currently only two fighters ahead of him in the rankings. One of them is the champion and the other is John Lineker who is coming off back to back fights with Andrade.
So Loman is clearly in pole position and was an interested spectator as the two men went head to head in Bangkok at ONE Fight Night 7. Lineker’s corner threw in the towel after the fourth round and the Filipino gives both men credit for putting on an action packed bout,
“They went at it from the very beginning. They had no feeling-out process in the first round,” he said.
Both men took a lot of damage in the four rounds that Andrade and Lineker fought. But ultimately the toll was greater on the UFC veteran who could not see clearly out of his right eye.
Loman was impressed by the durability of both men,
“They were able to absorb the damage well. John showcased his wrestling, but he also tried to knock Andrade out so he stayed on his feet at times. For Andrade, he fully utilized his straight hands and beautifully set up his jabs and knees.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 26, 2022
Loman actually anticipated that Andrade would finish the fight inside the distance declaring a few days before the event that,
“If you’re going to ask me to predict, I’d still have Andrade via technical knockout. I feel like he’s just going to pick up where he left off from that fight.”
It turned out to be a prescient prediction from Loman. His winning streak currently stands at 11 and he is coming off a decision win over former champion Bibiano Fernandes.
Andrade might be the man to beat at bantamweight now but Loman looks like the man most likely to beat him. The Brazilian will need time to recover from that grueling 20 minute fight with Lineker but when he does there is only one title fight for the promotion to make.