There is no denying that John Lineker is one of the top flyweights in the UFC. His toughest battles of late have been with the scales and trying to make the 125-pound limit.
“Hands of Stone” lived up to his moniker with another strong performance at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England as he destroyed Phil Harris. The hard-hitting Brazilian showcased his striking skills as he had Harris hurt with right hands and left hooks in the early stages of the contest. It was a thudding body shot that brought matters to an end at 2:51 of the very first round.
Lineker now has 11 knockouts to his credit and it marked his fourth-straight victory inside the Octagon after losing to Louis Gaudinot in his debut. Harris falls to 1-2 in the UFC and paid the price for looking to get into exchanges with a powerful striker.
Lineker entered the contest ranked no. 5 in the UFC’s top-1o rankings and while the victory was impressive, his propensity to not make weight can’t be ignored. The fight with Harris marked the third time in five UFC fights that he had missed weight. Lineker forked over 25 per cent of his purse to his opponent after weighing in at 128 pounds.
With Lineker’s ability to finish, he is certainly one to watch, but it remains to be seen whether there will be any other further sanctions against him for his latest weight violation.
Now it will be up to Lineker’s camp to decide whether a move up to the 135 pound bantamweight division would be the best course to take. If he decides to remain at flyweight, there would be attractive matchups for him. One that immediately comes to mind would be a fight for Lineker against former title challenger John Dodson. The hard-hitting Dodson was also impressive in scoring a first-round stoppage at UFC 166 against Darrell Montague.
Whatever the UFC decides is next for Lineker, the weight issues simply can’t resurface if he wants to be seen as a serious title contender.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports