After dates in December and February fell through, John Lineker finally got his chance to challenge Bibiano Fernandes for the ONE bantamweight championship at Lights Out on Friday.
The UFC veteran was looking to claim his first title in a major promotion in the match-up — but early on, Lineker found himself at a disadvantage.
Early in the opening round, Fernandes got the fight to the ground, leaving Lineker with his with his back to the fence. The champ went to work, eating up some time, but Lineker would escape — and was right back in his wheelhouse. Lineker rocked the champ with a left, slinging heavy leather, and Fernandes was clearly wobbled. But he’d survive, clip Lineker, and take the fight right back down — only for Lineker to get on top in the ensuing scramble, allowing him to finish the round in control, landing ground n’ pound.
Lineker had put his power on display in the first five minutes — but Fernandes proved that he could both take a punch and answer back. The second round kicked off at a more measured pace, with Fernandes landing a takedown roughly ninety seconds in. He’d spend some more time on top, about a minute, before Lineker exploded back to his feet. That led to another stand-up exchange, both fighters biting down on the mouthpiece and winging hooks. Fernandes had a mouse growing under his right eye; he’d wisely look for another takedown, but was denied.
Moments later, Lineker capitalized. A left hand sent Fernandes crashing backwards to the canvas; the extra strikes that followed were barely necessary. Three years, and four fights, after joining ONE Championship, John Linker had ascended to the top of the mountain, with an emphatic knockout of one of the promotion’s biggest names.
Official result: John Lineker def. Bibiano Fernandes (c) by knockout, Round 2, 3:40 – for the ONE bantamweight world championship