John Lineker entered the Octagon with highly touted Ali Bagautinov at UFC 169 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday night with something to prove. Not only was his Russian counterpart the favorite, but Lineker also had trouble making weight once again.
It looked like the fight was going to be all Bagautinov the way the opening round started. Lineker threw some heavy shots, swinging for the fences, but when he did, Bagautoniv took him to the mat and employed his ground and pound attack.
The Brazilian adjusted well in the second stanza, stuffing all of Bagautinov’s takedown attempts. He also shifted his striking strategy, landing numerous hard punches to the body, as well as a few uppercuts to the Russian’s chin.
Lineker kept the same strategy into the final round, but that backfired on him. Bagautinov adjusted and instead of shooting double and single-leg takedowns, he put Lineker on the mat several times with trips and hip tosses.
Bagautinov stood late in the third round and Lineker attacked his leg, but the Russian Sambo expert wasn’t concerned at all, raising his hands as the clock ticked down, playing to the Jersey crowd.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Bagautinov, who lived up to his billing, moving his professional record to 13-2. Lineker lost for the first time in his last five fights, dropping his record to 23-7.