ONE Fight Night 13: John Lineker Comes Back to KO Jae Woong Kim in Final Seconds

John Lineker and Jaw Woong Kim, ONE Fight Night 13
John Lineker and Jaw Woong Kim, ONE Fight Night 13 weigh-in Credit: ONE Championship

Former ONE bantamweight champion and current number one contender John Lineker fought his first new opponent since his two-fight series with Fabricio de Andrade, where he lost his title, when he took on Jae Woong Kim at ONE Fight Night 13.

That series saw him stripped of the belt on the scale, compete in a no-contest, and then get finished in an all-out war to the now-champion, his first loss in ONE Championship. Lineker’s opponent for his rebound fight, the unranked Kim, came into this bout having lost three of his last four fights and holding a 4-4 record in the promotion.

Both men were patient to start the fight, largely trading nothing but low kicks in the opening minute. Right after that opening minute Kim ducked down for a double leg and landed it against the ropes. Lineker held him in a guillotine but he did not really have it to a threatening degree; Kim was content to relax with his head tied up until he freed himself soon after and dropped down some sharp elbows. Lineker tried to wrestle up but Kim stayed heavy on top and forced John to give up his back momentarily.

Lineker bailed on the get-up and returned to half-guard. Kim landed more solid ground strikes as Lineker worked to get up, giving up the back again and returning to half-guard again. The damage piled up as Jae Woong Kim never was content to just control the Brazilian; he constantly worked to get to a place where he could ran down strikes. Suddenly, with thirty seconds left in the round Lineker executed a half-guard sweep with his famous brute strength. He ended up in top half but only got off one really damaging shot before the bell.

Lineker wasted no time in round two, swinging for the fences and taking Kim off his feet with a calf kick. He worked the body with big hooks and then reversed the Japanese fighter’s takedown when it came. Lineker settled in full guard, survived a sudden scare with a triangle-armbar, and worked to try to do what Kim did to him in the first round. He had trouble controlling Kim however, who kicked out and stood up ninety seconds into the round. Lineker threw his patented wild overhands but Kim was very competitive in that realm.

Kim then shot in for a double leg and ducked under to the back when it was defended, but got his body-lock cleared and was forced into striking again. Lineker stuffed another quick takedown attempt, this one with ease as the shots became more telegraphed. Kim worked to use his length to avoid the power of Lineker and it helped him stay competitive with an otherwise more punishing striker. The body punches  did the most effective damage for John Lineker but Kim came right back with his own attacks to that area, mainly teep kicks. Kim rarely let his rear hand go, but his jab was effective at keeping Lineker from inflicting the damage on him that so many others had fallen prey to.

The round was close when it ended, though fights are not scored round-by-round in ONE Championship MMA.

There was all to play for going into the final round and both men knew it. Lineker got back to the calf kicks early and was effective there. Those kicks also set up his strikes upstairs. Kim continued to work the jab but it was never a punch that would hurt John. Lineker stayed more technical than in past fights and did get somewhat out-volumed, but the powerful shots were all his when he did let his hands go. Kim began to open up a bit more halfway through the round and then changed it up and went for his first takedowns of the round, both of which were defended by Lineker. However, off of those attempts Kim was able to land some good knees on the shorter fighter.

Lineker countered with a leg kick that hurt Kim momentarily. Just past the one minute mark John Lineker landed his best shot of the fight, a right hook which hurt Kim and forced him to shoot for a desperation takedown. It was stuffed easily. Suddenly, with just ten seconds left in the fight John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker landed one of his famous combinations, the right hook to the body followed by the left hook to the head. Kim was dropped against the ropes and the Brazilian pounced on his hurt prey, raining down ground strikes until the referee was forced to step in with only moments to spare.

Lineker may have been about to lose the fight on the scorecards but he never laid down and proved that fighting to the bitter end can have beautiful results. John Lineker got back in the win column in spectacular style and notched his twenty-second professional finish at the age of thirty-three. He proved that he still belongs in the deep end of the talented ONE Championship 145-lb MMA division. In the post-fight interview, the former champion called for a rematch with his archrival, Fabricio de Andrade, who was sitting in the front row in attendance.

Official Result: John Lineker def. Kim Jae Woong by TKO (hooks to ground strikes) Round 3, 4:56