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UFC Fight Night 56's John Lineker is the 'Fighter To Watch' this weekend

John Lineker -- one of the most exciting flyweight fighters in the world -- will face the toughest challenge of his career this weekend (Sat., Nov. 8, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 56, when he takes on Ian McCall in the co-main event of the evening.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight division is one that is admittedly fairly shallow, but it is definitely not short of excitement. And one standout, John Lineker, is poised to break through this weekend (Sat., Nov. 8, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 56, which takes place at Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves in Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The talented young Brazilian has built up a reputation as one of the 125-pound division's most violent fighters, complementing his impressive power with a frenetic, aggressive workrate that ensures he keeps opponents on their heels. He may sacrifice some level of technicality when utilizing this approach, but he doesn't seem to mind.

And for all but two of his seven fights inside the Octagon, it has worked out well for him.

The reasons for those aforementioned losses are what you'd expect from a fighter of his style -- deficiencies in his ground game and striking defense. Louis Gaudinot locked him up tight in a guillotine choke, putting Lineker out cold in his UFC debut. And then some five fights later, Ali Bagautinov put on a clinic against him in a wrestling-heavy contest that took "Hands Of Stone" out of his element.

At the young age of 24, the deficiencies that led to these losses are ones you'd expect him to be ironing out, and that is something that will need to be done if he is to reach his full potential.

Another major problem for the young Brazilian is the management of his weight cut to 125 pounds. Lineker has missed weight in the UFC a shocking three times in his seven-fight tenure with the promotion, amounting to almost half his appearances in the Octagon.

Lineker isn't exactly the largest Flyweight, either. And yet he manages to struggle with his weight cut just about every time out, always looking drawn-out and exhausted when it comes time for weigh ins. This hasn't seemed to have had such a deep impact on his cardio in-fight, as he manages to keep his high workrate up for however long is necessary, but it is something to consider if he ever moves into five-round fights.

If there's one thing company president Dana White hates, it's chronic weight missers, and he has cut fighters from the promotion for this very reason.

Going forward, Lineker will be expected to keep a squeaky-clean record of making weight or he'll never be risked in a title match. The last thing UFC wants these days is a derailed championship fight because of a fighter missing weight. And it will not put Lineker in that position if he cannot prove to them that he is reliable in this regard.

Lineker's next opponent, Ian McCall, is a fighter who has also had his share of troubles. McCall, a former champion in Tachi Palace Fights, has been noted to live a wild life of sorts outside of fighting ... and occasionally doesn't live up to expectations in the cage because of it. However, McCall is undeniably talented and sports a number of high-profile wins on his resume, including most recently a win over former Bantamweight stalwart Brad Pickett.

For all McCall's talent, he can easily be critiqued for not always fighting to his strengths, sometimes opting for a more exciting -- albeit misguided -- gameplan. Lineker's main hope in this fight is that McCall falls right into that trap, allowing for a firefight that should be very entertaining. This type of fight suits Lineker, because although he seems to swing wildly, he combines power and precision with tremendous volume to overwhelm opponents.

And even McCall -- with his hard chin and gritty determination -- could not withstand an onslaught like that for long.

Ultimately, McCall would be a very impressive name for Lineker to add to his resume, especially if he can defeat him in impressive fashion. In a young and burgeoning Flyweight division, title shots can come with even the smallest of win streaks, and Lineker might be in line for one if he can notch an impressive win or two in the near future.

He will surely have to make the fight dirty if he is to beat McCall, but I believe he is capable of doing so, pulling off a pretty big win on his road to a shot at Demetrious Johnson's Flyweight championship.

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