John Lineker and Marlon Vera faced off tonight (Sat., Oct. 28 2017) from inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, broadcast live on Fox Sports 1. Lineker was attempting to return from getting his jaw broken in a lopsided loss to TJ Dillashaw, while Vera had won three straight.
John Lineker looked more or less like himself at first. He planted his feet and threw heavy counters whenever Vera attempted to kick. Vera’s approach seemed to be intent on landing a lot of kicks at range, and as he got comfortable Lineker began to seem tentative. Vera landed half a dozen kicks at regular intervals with no return. Lineker finally came back with a calf kick, then threw another to the inside of Vera’s calf. He finally began moving forward, throwing his signature combination, right hand to the body, left hook to the head. The crowd noise rose in anticipation the moment he threw it. A little while later, he threw the same combo again, to another dull roar. He got Vera to the fence with his next combination and began unloading. Vera covered as Lineker threw. Lineker kept throwing combinations at more and more frequent intervals, backing Vera up each time. The round ended with Lineker backing Vera up with intent, looking far more in control than the beginning of the fight.
They touched gloves to start the second. Vera tried to move forward, looking for kicks. Lineker tried some spinning kicks. Vera landed a nice leg kick set up with his hands. Lineker backed him up with heavy punches. Vera landed a lead hook kick to Lineker’s head and Lineker smiled. He moved forward and Vera caught him in a full Thai plumb and landed some dangerous-looking knees. Lineker darted forward and ate a knee, but kept coming. Lineker landed a spinning back kick. Vera landed a nice outside low kick, then another. Lineker switched stances and landed a kick of his own. He looked for a high kick, then landed a body hook. Vera caught Lineker with a counter moving forward, then landed a nice body kick. Lineker began throwing wild hooks to the body. Vera slipped on a kick and Lineker stood above him, kicked his legs. Lineker decided to take top position and landed a couple hard elbows. He postured and threw heavy hooks, then let Vera up as the round ended. Vera tried to leap in with a knee, but the round was already ending.
Vera landed a jab to start round three, then a leg kick. Lineker drove forward with his winging hooks and Vera tried to get the Thai plumb. Lineker pushed forward through the clinch into an underhook position against the cage, and then separated. This sequence would become a pattern through the rest of the round. Vera’s kicks were landing viciously. Lineker landed a calf kick but Vera landed a head kick in combination. His knees and high kicks looked dangerous, with Lineker meeting his Thai plumb once more by pushing forward through it. Vera’s Thai plumb was shutting down Lineker when the stocky Brazilian tried to wade forward. Lineker tried to pressure, missed a spinning kick, ate a leg kick. Vera hit a high kick. Lineker landed his signature combination flush to the body and head. Vera jumped and threw a knee. Lineker blocked a knee from the Thai plumb and pushed Vera into the fence. Vera tried an axe kick that fell just short. Vera was blocking the Lineker hooks and landing straights and knees. Lineker looked tired, but landed one final spinning body kick to close out the fight.
John Lineker got the official nod via unanimous decision on all scorecards. Afterwards, he launched into a long speech in his native Portuguese that translated into, “I have been out for ten months, sorry for my performance, I got a little tired” and thanking Jesus. He said his goal is to be a champion and he’s been waiting for ten months, but the beast is out now! Lineker remains a must-watch action fighter in the bantamweight division.
Official result: John Lineker def. Marlon Vera via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
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