John Lineker will try to reclaim his gold at ONE Fight Night 7 on February 24. The ONE Championship star lost the ONE Bantamweight World Championship to the scale when he failed to meet the weight & hydration requirements prior to his match with Fabricio Andrade. After their no-contest meeting last October, the all-Brazilian bantamweight battle headlines the action inside Lumpinee Stadium.
Lineker’s face wore the damage from Andrade’s peppering shots, but “Hands of Stone” feels like perception did not meet reality. In an interview with ONE, Lineker discussed how he was willing to eat jabs from his fellow Brazilian but was largely unphased by the strikes. If the low blow did not end the fight, Lineker expected to rebound and give Andrade a five-round war.
“I watched my fight against him again. 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. Other than that, the only thing that hurt was the knee to the rib and then he landed the knee in my groin. If it weren’t for that illegal move, he would have had to fight me for five rounds. And it would be a war until the end,” said Lineker.
Seeing the damage on film will help shape the next encounter at ONE Fight Night 7. Lineker does not plan to allow Andrade to rack points and influence the judges with superficial damage. Additionally, breaking down the tape from the first fight has allowed Lineker to address holes in “Wonder Boy’s” game.
“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,” said Lineker.
When talking about the upcoming rematch on February 24, “Hands of Stone” was clear that he will still be the same athlete who pressures his opponent. He plans to bring the action to Andrade and stay in his face for 25 minutes unless he scores the knockout first. But regardless of how the bout plays out, Lineker just plans to give it his all and give fans an exciting main-event collision.
“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,” said Lineker.
ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II airs live and free to all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST.