By Raphael Garcia
Every year there are a few fights announced that immediately excite fans. These fights don’t have to include the title or even a position as the number one contender; the idea is to bring two exciting fighters together in competition. John Lineker vs. John Dodson is just that. This Saturday’s bantamweight main event deserves its moment in the limelight as one of the best matchups of 2016.
Dodson and Lineker are two fighters that buck popular misconceptions. Many mainstream fans develop the presumption that lighter weight fighters do not have the same propensity for highlight reel knockouts as bigger men. That isn’t the case for either of these two fighters, however. These former flyweight contenders have combined for 22 total knockouts. But when they were unable to claim gold in the division where Demetrious Johnson reigns, they were forced to jump up 10 pounds and chase the bantamweight crown. However, adding those ten pounds hasn’t hindered their ability to stop opponents and leave them crumpled on the mat.
Still, it is the action that’s expected to occur in the cage that caused many ears to perk up when this fight was announced. The UFC has successfully used the Fox Sports platform in the past to present fights meant not only to build the roster, but to also create new stars. Dodson and Lineker are the right types of fighters to put in this position, as their fighting styles are exactly what attracts mainstream fans: technical violence.
The pairing of John Dodson and John Lineker creates a fight that fans should not miss. There is a lot on the line, not only for both men in the main event, but for the division as a whole. With so many MMA fights occurring on a weekly basis, it’s hard to call one “must see,” but Lineker vs. Dodson at UFC Fight Night 96 is as close to that as any other bout this year.
UFC Fight Night 96: Dodson vs. Lineker takes place on October 1, 2016 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.