By Adam Martin
Two of the top pound-for-pound knockout artists in the sport meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 96 when John Lineker collides with John Dodson. Both men measure only 5’3” tall and weigh 135 lbs, but despite their small stature, both men pack a big punch. When fans complain that bantamweights don’t have knockout power, all you have to do is point to Lineker or Dodson’s record to prove those naysayers wrong.
In Lineker’s case, the 26-year-old Brazilian has a 28-7 record in his career with 13 total knockouts. He’s 9-2 in his UFC career with five knockout victories, including a signature knockout victory over Michael McDonald in his last outing. Lineker throws with reckless abandon and no regard for human life or his opponents’ brain cells, and the results have been fantastic, as he’s quickly emerged as one of the must-watch fighters in the sport. He was close to earning a title shot when he was a flyweight, but after missing weight four times he was forced to move up to bantamweight, and he’s a perfect 3-0 in his new weight class. He’s already in the Top 5, and another highlight reel win over Dodson would get him close to earning a title shot in his new weight class.
The UFC bantamweight division is extremely stacked with fresh contenders, but it’s also wide open. UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is likely to face his rival Cody Garbrandt next, but after that there’s no clear-cut title contender. That puts the winner of Lineker and Dodson, with an impressive victory in Portland, in a good position to challenge for the title in his next outing, or at the very least get a #1 contender bout against a guy like Dillashaw, Bryan Caraway, or Jimmie Rivera. That makes the main event of UFC Fight Night 96 the most important fight in both Lineker and Dodson’s careers, and at the end of the day, the fans should be the winners here, as these two knockout artists will go at it in what could very well be a “Fight of the Year” contender when it’s all said and done.
UFC Fight Night 96: Dodson vs. Lineker takes place on October 1, 2016 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.