UFC 169 Fight Breakdown: Ali Bagautinov (-140) vs. John Lineker (+120)

John Lineker One of five main card bouts at UFC 169 is a potential title eliminator in the flyweight division between Ali “Puncher King” Bagautinov and John “Hands of Stone” Lineker. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Bagautinov as a -140 betting favorite (bet $140 to win $100) while Linker is a +120 underdog (bet $100 to win $120). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Bagautinov at -125 and Lineker at -115, meaning so far there has been slightly more action on the favorite Bagautinov. I agree with the line movement as I’m also picking Bagautinov to win the fight. Here’s why. Bagautinov (12-2) made an impact in the UFC flyweight division in 2013 with two big wins over Marcos Vinicius and Tim Elliott, and he looks to up his win streak to 11-straight fights with a win over Lineker. The 28-year-old Russian is called “Puncher King” because of his knockout power in his hands that has seen him win five fights via T/KO. He comes from a sambo background as well so he has excellent grappling in general his submission skills aren’t too shabby either, as he’s finished four fights via tapout. He is a very dangerous fighter who is well-rounded in every area of the game, and if he can defeat Lineker this weekend it’s very likely that he will be next in line for a title shot against UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Lineker (23-6) is one of the heaviest pound-for-pound hitters in the game, and unlike Sam Stout, he truly deserves the nickname “Hands of Stone.” The 24-year old is an aggressive striker. He also has good takedown defense and is a good athlete overall. He also has a steady chin. Lineker’s problem is is his conditioning. In five UFC fights, Lineker has missed weight three times, and it’s surprising in some ways that he is getting another fight in the UFC. But considering the lack of death in the flyweight talent pool, it makes sense why the UFC has kept the exciting Lineker around. Lineker is an excellent fighter but in a close fight against an evenly-matched opponent, it might  come down to cardio and his lack of elite conditioning might be just the reason why he doesn’t reach his goal of earning a flyweight title shot this weekend. I see this being a very exciting fight. I think Lineker is going to look good early on and could even threaten in round one, but I do think Bagautinov is going to win at least two of the rounds and possibly even stop Lineker late as the Brazilian begins to tire. If the fight stays standing it will be closely contested and who knows with the judges, but I think Bagautinov is going to fight smart and sprinkle in some takedowns to get the job done. At the end of 15 minutes, I see Bagautinov getting his hand raised and I see him being rewarded with the next UFC flyweight title shot. Bagautinov is -140 right now so I’m going to wait and see how the line moves before making a play. I still think there’s slight value even at the current line, but I’d rather wait and see if the Russian drops back down to around a Pick ’em price before making a play. It’s possible that if Lineker misses weight and Bagautinov’s line will actually increase, but I’m willing to take the risk and wait to see if the line goes down. Either way, I will be making a play on the Russian as long as he stays under -150. I don’t like any props in this fight, just a straight bet on Bagautinov to win the fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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