John Lineker has a fight again, as Cory Sandhagen is stepping up on short notice to face the dangerous bantamweight at UFC Brooklyn.
It’s not the showdown with Dominick Cruz that he had no doubt hoped for, but UFC bantamweight John Lineker has a fight. ESPN was first to report that Lineker, who had a high-profile bout with Cruz at UFC 233 that was cancelled due to a Cruz injury, will instead face Cory Sandhagen at UFC Brooklyn (UFC Fight Night 143) next month. That date is a couple of weeks earlier than the planned Cruz fight, however, with UFC 233 scrapped entirely, it’s no doubt better than waiting for the heavy-hitting bantamweight.
Lineker (31-8) was looking at arguably the biggest fight of his career against Cruz, in a fight that many saw as a title eliminator. The Brazilian fought current champ T.J. Dillashaw in December 2016 at UFC 207, suffering one of his three losses in the UFC. However, that non-title bout went the distance, and Lineker remains on the short list for a title shot at 135lbs.
Whether or not a win over Cory Sandhagen is enough to get him there remains to be seen. Sandhagen (9-1) has fought just twice in the UFC, but has won both those fights. More importantly, both wins have come via a finish, TKOs against both Austin Arnett and Iuri Alcantara.
UFC Brooklyn, which marks the promotion’s debut on ESPN+, takes place January 19 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. A flyweight title fight tops the card, featuring bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw moving down to challenge Henry Cejudo for a second title.