UFC Fight Night 91 Breakdown: John Lineker vs Michael McDonald

John LinekerPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of Fight Night 91 featuring a top ten bantamweight clash between John Lineker and Michael McDonald.   John Lineker (Record: 27-7, -160 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B+) The 26 year old Paranagua, Brazil born fighter has been on a major upswing in his UFC career. After struggling to make the flyweight limit, Lineker has moved up to bantamweight. Overall, he’s on a four fight winning streak with the last two of those wins in the bantamweight division. This is Lineker’s first UFC main event. In a John Lineker fight, there is no room for blinking as the fight could be over in an instant. Lineker’s arsenal begin and end with his hands. There’s a reason his nickname is “Hands of Stone” Lineker hits hard; very hard. Lineker not only has one punch knockout power, but he throws with significant volume. He lands 5.57 significant strikes a minute; one of the highest totals in the UFC. Lineker’s style is unique as he’s an excellent aggressive striker that really takes pride in working in strikes to the body to slow down his opponent. His success on the feet is all the more surprising to the fact that he’s one of the smallest fighters in the division standing only 5’3” tall. A key reason for Lineker’s lack of fear in the standup is his ability to eat strikes. Lineker has one of the best chins in MMA and has rarely been phased by being hit. The lone time Lineker’s skills had been neutralized was against Ali Bagautinov; a world champion in Sambo.   Michael McDonald (Record: 17-3, +150 Underdog, Fighter Grade: B+) A California native training out of Oakdale MMA, McDonald has been fighting in the UFC for five years despite being just 25 years of age. After a two year absence with various injuries, McDonald returned to the cage in January 2016 with a second round submission of Masanori Kanehara. McDonald is a truly rare breed in that he’s spent nearly his entire life in MMA. He started training in kickboxing at just 10 years of age, began training in MMA at 14, and had his first professional fight at 16 years old. Some fighters are just starting their MMA career at 25 years of old, McDonald’s already a long time veteran at that age. McDonald has a very good striking game with a straight right hook and a left hook. His striking prowess is best evidenced in his knockout win over Miguel Torres which can be seen in many UFC highlight clips. McDonald is an accurate striker landing 42% of his strikes, but he’s more of a timing fighter as opposed to a volume striker landing 2.62 significant strikes a minute. McDonald is not a very good defensive wrestler having been taken down in each of his last four fights. With that said, he holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has a crafty submission game in which he’s capable of securing submissions from either top or bottom. He’s got good size for the weight class standing 5’9” with a 70” reach.   Match-up The UFC has put together a fantastic main event between bantamweights in what should be an exciting striking showcase. Lineker’s heavy handed volume approach against McDonald’s more timed technical approach. This is only McDonald’s second fight in the last 2.5 years and ring rust could certainly be an issue against a fighter like Lineker. The Brazilian tends to find himself in brawls and slugfests. He’s no stranger to this type of fight and throwing down with a solid striker. Given Lineker’s great chin and much higher volume, the advantage is with him in this fight. McDonald has been clipped in the past by fighters with much less power than Lineker. If McDonald is going to win this fight, he’s going to need to use his length to keep Lineker at bay and hope that Brazilian slows down so that he can take over the fight. If McDonald can get the fight to the ground, he can try to work in some submission attempts. Lineker is vulnerable to submissions when fatigued, so that is an area that McDonald can exploit. Even with the size advantage, I don’t see how McDonald keeps Lineker at bay. I think this fight opens up early which heavily favors Lineker. Look for Lineker to close the distance and work in shots to the body hurting his opponent. Once he has McDonald hurt, Lineker will land a head shot scoring a knockout victory. At +100 the Lineker wins Inside the Distance prop is worth a play. It’s very unlikely this fight goes the distance.

Written by Jay Primetown

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