The UFC 183 fight between John Lineker and Ian McCall on Saturday night was supposed to be a flyweight contender bout, putting one or the other fighter a step closer to a shot at 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson.
Following weigh-ins, however, that opportunity was narrowed to being applicable only to McCall, as Lineker once again missed weight. It marked the fourth time out of his eight UFC bouts that Lineker has missed weight, and had UFC president Dana White declaring that this would be the last time Lineker would be afforded the opportunity to fight at flyweight. Moving forward, he’ll have to bump up a weight class.
> SEE ALSO: UFC 183 Silva vs. Diaz Full Live Results
McCall opened strong, using a strategy of attacking Lineker lead leg with kicks, in an attempt to stay away from his powerful punches. As he attacked the leg, McCall read Lineker’s movements and timed a takedown early in the round, planting him on his back. McCall worked a solid mix of ground-and-pound punches and elbows for the majority of the round, easily dominating the opening stanza.
But after that, he found it much more difficult to take the fight where he wanted it… to the mat.
In the second frame, Lineker did a good job timing McCall’s takedown attempts, catching him in a tight guillotine choke early in the round, although he couldn’t quite cinch it for the finish.
In between moments of landing some of his patented heavy leather, Lineker found the guillotine choke off of McCall’s takedown attempts a couple more times in the round, easily outpacing “Uncle Creepy.”
McCall did a good job early in the final frame, using his movement to avoid most of Lineker’s power punches, but he was unable to mount much offense of his own, outside of a couple solid body kicks.
In the second half of round three, Lineker finally cut the cage off and unleashed his power in a well-timed mix of body blows and head punches. He even dropped McCall briefly to one knee. He pushed the pace in the waning moments, landing more hard shots that left McCall’s face bloodied at the final bell.
Though he couldn’t put McCall away, he did earn the unanimous nod from the judges.
If UFC president Dana White doesn’t reconsider, it will, however, serve as Lineker’s flyweight swan song. The victory was definitely important for him, but it now leaves the UFC scratching its collective head over who is next for Johnson.
Follow @KenPishna on Twitter