Second up on the UFC 169 main card, flyweight John Lineker faced off against Ali Bagautinov. The Dagestani Samboist took the first round with an early takedown and control. Lineker came back in round two with a sprawl-and-brawl strategy with heavy emphasis on body strikes, but left Bagautinov open to come back and take the third round and the unanimous decision.
Bagautinov immediately took the fight to the ground with a quick takedown of Lineker. Ali looked to score with strikes on the ground, but Lineker’s defense kept him from scoring much damage. Lineker created space and went for a heel hook, but left himself open for a leg lock attack from Bagautinov before escaping and returning to his feet. A body kick from Lineker was easily caught by Bagautinov which he used to score a takedown into half guard.
Bagautinov came in for a low single that sent Lineker off balance. He followed it up with a flurry as Lineker was backed against the fence. Lineker started targeting the body with punches as Bagautinov tried to circle away. Lineker with a flurry of his own. Bagautinov dove for a single but Lineker hit the sprawl this time. Back on the feet, Lineker continued to work punches to the body.
Bagautinov clearly wary of Lineker’s power at the start of the final round, but was able to time his takedown and get his opponent to the mat. In a postured half-guard, he unleashed repeated elbows to the body. Lineker was able to return to his feet for a moment, but over committed to a right hook and gave up another takedown. Lineker was finally able to return to his feet and escape the clinch with just over a minute left. It didn’t last long before Bagautinov hit another takedown. Lineker went for a leg lock and Bagutinov took the opportunity to stand up and elicit cheers from the crowd.
Ali Bagautinov wins the unanimous decision (29-28 x 3) over John Lineker.
Lineker was on a four-fight win streak heading into Saturday night. In his five fights with the UFC he’d only lost in his promotional debut, though he’s had problems making weight historically. Bagutinov was undefeated in two UFC fights.
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