UFC Fight Night 56 Fight Breakdown: Ian McCall vs. John Lineker

McCall-Johnson The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 56 is a three-round flyweight bout between Ian McCall and John Lineker. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, McCall is a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Lineker is a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up McCall at -170 and Lineker at +130, and the public likes the favorite McCall early on. I think this is a very close fight and I disagree on the action coming in on McCall as I’m picking Lineker to get the upset. Here’s why. McCall (13-4-1) is one of the top-ranked flyweights in the world. The 30-year-old American is 2-2-1 in the UFC with wins over Brad Pickett and Iliarde Santos, a draw against Demetrious Johnson, and losses to Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. He also holds notable wins over Jussier Formiga, Dustin Ortiz and Darrell Montague. McCall is essentially a sprawl-and-brawl type fighter who typically wins fights by decision. He has very good boxing, good footwork, , great cardio and solid wrestling, and he uses those tools to pick his opponents apart for 15 minutes and win on the judges’ scorecards. The fact he is not much of a finisher is concerning because when fights go to decision you never know with the judges, and that cost him in his first fight against Johnson, a bout I personally thought he won. There’s no doubt McCall is one of the best in the world at 125lbs, but when you don’t finish fights and you’re involved in competitive battles you open things up for the judges to screw up, and that’s a huge concern when fighting in his opponent’s territory, which he’s doing against Lineker in Brazil. Lineker (24-7) could be the next flyweight title contender if he wins this fight. The 24-year-old Brazilian is 5-2 overall in the UFC with wins over Alp Ozkilic, Phil Harris, Jose Maria Tome, Azamat Gashimov and Yasuhiro Urushitani and losses to Louis Gaudinot and Ali Bagautinov. He is one of the most powerful pound-for-pound punchers in all of MMA, with 12 career knockout wins and four knockouts in the UFC alone. He has massive power in his hands, and he’s always coming forward in his fights throwing bombs, often connecting to win his fights in devastating fashion. Unfortunately for Lineker he has had a problem making the 125lb flyweight limit in the past, having missed weight three times in seven UFC bouts. He is lucky he is still in the UFC, but he is very exciting and the UFC knows they can sell him as a contender if he beats a name fighter like McCall. Lineker has shown some holes in his takedown defence and his conditioning is always a concern due to his struggle with weight cutting, but fighting at home in Brazil, he should have a better weight cut this time around, and if he looks anything like he did in his last fight against Ozkilic — he looked like a destroyer in that bout — he has a very good chance at taking out McCall for the upset and probably earning the next flyweight title shot. This is going to be a very competitive fight, and I think it likely goes to decision, but I think the value is on Lineker as an underdog. The fight is in Brazil, which favors Lineker, and I think the fact he will be the aggressor coming forward for all three rounds should help him on the judges’ cards, especially if this fight stays standing. McCall is the more technical striker, but Lineker is more effective, so McCall’s best gameplan would be to wrestle Lineker here. However, Lineker is difficult to get to the mat and I see this fight primarily taking place on the feet, where I do favor the Brazilian. It’s a close fight and one that’s not safe to bet on, but at the current price of +145, I believe this is a dog-or-pass situation, and I am picking Lineker to win the fight by a close decision.

Written by Adam Martin.

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