September 30, 2016

UFC Fight Night 96: Lineker and Dodson May Be Little, But They Are Giant Punchers

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.

As for Dodson, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 14 has a 18-7 MMA record, including a 7-2 mark in the UFC. In his career the 32-year-old American has nine knockouts, including five knockouts in the UFC alone while mainly competing at flyweight. Included in those knockouts are a 37-second knockout over Manny Gamburyan in his last outing, as well as a 114-second knockout of former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. With his speed, explosiveness, and athleticism, Dodson is able to overcome his small frame to generate massive knockout power, and it’s that power that has him knocking on the door of title contendership in the UFC’s stacked 135-pound division. Ranked in the Top 10 at bantamweight, a victory over Lineker would push Dodson into the top five, one step closer to getting his third UFC title shot, albeit his first in the bantamweight division.

In addition to their knockout power, both Lineker and Dodson have granite chins, as both men have been in the Octagon with many of the best flyweights and bantamweights in the world, and in a combined 60 fights, neither has been knocked out. That’s downright incredible. When you combine their chins and big-time power, it’s easy to see why the UFC chose to book this fight as the main event of UFC Portland; giving these two men five rounds to settle their differences will give the fans a fantastic show.

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.

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