Fights are often billed as having bad blood, but when John Lineker and Fabricio Andrade step into the circle this weekend the rivalry is very real.
The two should have been able to settle the score last October at ONE Fight Night 3.
Lineker heading into the fight as bantamweight champion but trouble on the scale meant he was stripped of the title – but a win for Andrade would have seen him take home the belt.
One misplaced strike to the groin later and we were headed towards a no contest with Lineker unable to recover and for the fight to continue.
Andrade was adamant he was winning the fight, but Lineker – who had his protective cup broken by the blow – is ready to show the world he is the better of the two Brazilians – and reclaim his bantamweight crown in the process.
“I watched my fight against him again,” he said. “Inside the cage, it’s one thing. Watching it on TV you have another vision. The fact is that I let him land a lot of jabs, which ended up hurting my face a lot. I wasn’t feeling his punches so much. I wasn’t afraid of his punches, so I took those jabs and ended up getting a pretty bruised face.
“This fight will show that he didn’t beat me and that he wasn’t the one who took my belt. But like I said, none of us have anything to prove. We’re going to enter the cage, do our best, and in the end, we’ll see who will leave with their arms raised.”
Lineker is known for having some of the heaviest hands in the game, and would have likely have an even more impressive resume than the 35-9-1NC record he holds to date if it were not for some high profile issues with weight management.
Ahead of this weekend’s clash in Bangkok however, he is supremely focused on the task in hand – and tells fans to expect to see the very best version of the name nicknames ‘Hands of Stone’’.
“I noticed some gaps in [Andrade’s] game. I also noticed his strengths, so in some way, it will help and I certainly won’t take as many hits as I did in the last fight. So, the fact that I’ve already fought him, I believe it can help with some aspects of the fight, like his movement and attacks.
“When I close my eyes, I see myself imposing my game, going up all the time, nonstop,” he said. “And that’s what will happen. I’m training for this. One thing I never do in a fight is back off. I’m going to press all the time, and I’m going to do what I know how to do best, which is to fight.”
ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker v Andrade takes place Saturday February 25 4am GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is a night not to be missed so mark your calendars, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!