Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight strikers John Lineker and Rob Font will rematch this Saturday (June 22, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 154 on ESPN+ from inside Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
At the moment, Lineker faces the issue of being just outside the elite rankings at Bantamweight, almost in the title mix but not quite there. Luckily, the bruiser has been calling for more frequent fights, and each chance he’s given to remind the fight world of his aggressive style is a chance for him to break back into the mix.
Font is in a similar position. He’s battered each of his foes who were not within the top five, but against the truly elite, he has come up short each time. Despite the consistent results, Font has shown improvement over the years, so perhaps this is the moment where he bucks the trend.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man.
Key Wins: John Dodson (UFC Fight Night 96), Michael McDonald (UFC Fight Night 91), Rob Font (UFC 198), Ian McCall (UFC 183)
Key Losses: TJ Dillashaw (UFC 207), Cory Sandhagen (UFC Fight Night 150
Keys to Victory: It’s been three years since these two squared off for the first time, and Lineker is exactly the same fighter. For better or worse, Lineker remains a bruiser who makes his living off ferocious combinations of hooks to the body and head.
Thought it was a loss, Lineker actually made the smart adjustment to mix it up a bit more last time out. He was more willing to kick when his foe moved out of range, and Lineker even mixed in a couple brief takedowns. If Font is building momentum at any point, mixing it up may help throw him back off his game.
Otherwise, Lineker’s power punches really made Font hesitate in the first bout. After a few exchanges, his foe was completely on the defensive, allowing Lineker to largely coast for the rest of the fight. If Lineker were to start swinging early and put himself back in control immediately, he may be able to force Font back into the same position quickly.
Key Wins: Thomas Almeida (UFC 220), Sergio Pettis (UFC on FOX 31), Douglas Silva de Andrade (UFC 213), Matt Schnell (TUF 24 Finale)
Key Losses: John Lineker (UFC 198), Pedro Munhoz (UFC Fight Night 119), Raphael Assuncao (UFC 226)
Keys to Victory: Font is a pretty smooth kickboxer with genuine knockout power in his hands. He’s also proven a rather capable offensive wrestler, able to hide a shot behind his punches once his foe is covering up.
Last time out, Font showed some early signs of promise. He was moving laterally well, jabbing and kick from the outside, and looking for knees up the middle when Lineker advanced. All sound strategy against the short, forward-moving boxer, and there’s no reason Font shouldn’t attempt the same in the rematch.
Font’s problem came when Lineker began landing shots — no one has ever been able to fight Lineker without getting cracked a few times, it’s the nature of Lineker’s manic offense. Font reacted poorly, retreating into a defensive shell and failing to engage. Font avoided getting knocked out, but he sacrificed any chance at victory in the process.
If the rematch is to go differently, Font has to bite down on his mouth piece and force Lineker to respect his offense.
Bottom Line: Hopefully, these two put on a fun scrap.
There is no doubt Lineker will do his part to provide the action. “Hands of Stone” still has yet to make his run at the title, he remains just 29 years of age. If Lineker can get fights booked as often as he would like, the division is wide open and would welcome a Lineker run at gold. Wouldn’t you like to see John Lineker fight Petr Yan in a title eliminator? Of course you would.
Lineker just needs a couple quick wins to make a match up like that possible.
Font has successful climbed his way into the top-tier of the division, but he hasn’t been able to string together a win streak yet. This is something of a make-or-break fight for Font, as he’s definitely in his prime right now. If he can get one back on Lineker, it’s the biggest win of Font’s career, a victory that should prime him for another high-profile match up next. If not, he’s likely reached his ceiling unless he changes something.
At UFC Fight Night 154, John Lineker and Rob Font will go to war for the second time. Which man will have his hand raised?