Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight strikers T.J. Dillashaw and John Lineker will go to war this Friday (Dec. 30, 2016) at UFC 207 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dillashaw has been served a rough hand. His decision loss to the current kingpin could easily have went the other way, and he arguably earned a rematch at UFC 200. Either way, the former champion will have to make his case once more in this bout. Standing opposite him is Lineker, who’s string of victories is not without controversy. The Brazilian’s most heated opponent is the scale, as he should have his own argument for a title shot if he was only able to manage his weight.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: Raphael Assuncao (UFC 200), Renan Barao (UFC on FOX 16, UFC 173), Joe Soto (UFC 177), Mike Easton (UFC Fight Night 35)
Key Losses: Dominick Cruz (UFC Fight Night 81)
Keys to Victory: Dillashaw entered this sport as a wrestler with heavy ground strikes and sneaky chokes, and those aspects of his game are still sharp. However, his biggest weapon has become his kickboxing, as Dillashaw fluidly dances between stances and constantly attacks his opponent from tricky angles.
His stand up technique will be challenged here.
Lineker is not a complicated fighter, and the gameplan to beating him is hardly a secret. Any fighter able to keep away from his brawling hooks while striking from range will give him some issues, and an athlete with sharp counters and takedowns can trouble him even further.
People understand this, but Lineker wins nonetheless.
Despite his usual aggression, Dillashaw needs to stick to the script in this bout. His footwork and kicks are far beyond his opponent, meaning he should be able to keep Lineker away and slam left kicks into his body/face when the boxer tries to close. If Lineker gets especially reckless, Dillashaw can change levels into a double leg.
So long as he avoids getting drawn into a brawl, this the Dillashaw’s fight to lose.
Key Wins: John Dodson (UFC Fight Night 96), Michael McDonald (UFC Fight Night 91), Rob Font (UFC 198), Ian McCall (UFC 183)
Key Losses: Ali Bagautinov (UFC 169)
Keys to Victory: Lineker is one of the sport’s most unique fighters. Despite essentially being a Flyweight with a shitty diet, Lineker fights like a far bigger man, stalking his opponent and throwing combinations to the head and body.
This bout will be a real test of Lineker’s ability to cut off the cage.
At distance, Lineker does not want any part of Dillashaw’s kickboxing. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to close the distance, which will be difficult against such a strong wrestler.
He cannot simply rush his foe, which means he must trap him.
If Lineker can move laterally rather than follow his opponent, he has a chance to trap Dillashaw against the fence. Without being able to back up, Dillashaw will be far more hittable, and Lineker does an excellent job of wearing his foe down from that position.
Bottom Line: This should be a title eliminator.
Dillashaw already has a strong argument toward a title shot. If he wins here, the result of the co-main event should not matter, as both a rematch with Cruz or showdown with “No Love” is a really exciting match up.
On the other hand, Dillashaw is so close to another title shot that a loss would be devastating. He would still be a top contender, of course, but it adds another name between him in the strap.
As for Lineker, this has the potential to earn him a title shot as well. He’s already been booked opposite Garbrandt before (even though it fell through), and this is a huge test that could help prepare him for the footwork of Cruz. Like Dillashaw, a title shot for Lineker guarantees some interesting fights.
Assuming his weight is finally under control.
Meanwhile, a loss sets Lineker back considerably. He’s been able to get away with all his nonsense because he wins in spectacular fashion, but that leniency will disappear the second he starts losing.
At UFC 207, T.J. Dillashaw and John Lineker will scrap in a pivotal Bantamweight bout. Which fighter will have his hand raised?
Source:: mma mania