A pivotal flyweight showdown at UFC Fight Night 56 in Brazil will likely produce the next title challenger in the 125-pound division. John Lineker will tangle with Ian McCall on November 8 in a matchup that has outstanding potential. Both men are coming off strong performances. Lineker impressed top brass by finally making weight at Fight Night 45 and then putting on a thrilling show against Alptekin Ozkilic in Atlantic City. McCall elevated his title prospects with a solid unanimous decision victory over Brad Pickett at Fight Night 46 in Ireland.
The No. 6-ranked Lineker showcased his formidable punching power in his third-round TKO victory over Ozkilic. The 24-year-old Brazilian packs a wallop and is a proven finisher with 15 of his 24 career wins having come by either knockout or submission. He possesses a brutal body attack and also has a granite chin.
Lineker has had some rough patches during his UFC tenure that have mostly dealt with his battles with the scale. He’s missed weight on three occasions but was in prime form for his last assignment hitting the 125-pound mark on his first attempt. Lineker has produced a 5-2 Octagon record with four knockouts. One of those losses came against recent title challenger Ali Bagautinov.
McCall is no stranger to facing the best that the division has to offer and has turned in a strong performance against Pickett in Dublin. “Uncle Creepy” beat his opponent to the punch and mixed in effective takedowns and ground-and-pound work. He’s won his last two fights and is very familiar with current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
The No. 3-ranked contender has already faced “Mighty Mouse” twice, having fought to a majority draw and losing a decision. The 30-year-old American has also faced the likes of Joseph Benavidez and Dominick Cruz and owns notable career wins over Jussier Formiga and Dustin Ortiz. McCall has been plagued by injury issues during his UFC tenure and is currently on the mend after his third hand surgery. He’s posted a 2-2-1 record in his five Octagon appearances. The veteran is well rounded and pushes a tremendous pace.
The next flyweight title fight is set for later this month at UFC 178 when Johnson looks to make another successful defense against Chris Cariaso. The winner of that fight will undoubtedly be keeping close tabs on what transpires in Brazil. There’s a high probability that the Lineker-McCall winner will be next in line for whomever is sporting the 125-pound belt.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports