Fabricio Andrade is gunning for a number one contender fight with Stephen Loman. Both men are currently riding high on the back of ferocious first-round knockout victories at ONE: Winter Warriors Part II. Andrade scored an explosive finish against China's Li Kai Wen. Meanwhile, Loman slept No.3-ranked bantamweight contender Yusup Saadulaev on his ONE Championship debut.
John Lineker is set to challenge Bibiano Fernandes for the title early in 2022, so a number one contender clash between Andrade and Loman seems to make perfect sense.
In a recent interview with AsianMMA.com Andrade said:
"As we know the title fight hasn't happened yet. We're still waiting for John Lineker and Bibiano. I told ONE I want to stay active. I don't want to wait too long. I'm just 24 now and I'm just at the beginning of my career. I feel like I'm just getting on my best shape as well. So for sure. Maybe Stephen Loman will be next."
The nature of Andrade's trajectory towards title contention has been remarkable. The Brazilian has spent the majority of his martial arts career competing in Muay Thai and kickboxing. With a modest 3-2 record in MMA at the time, 'Wonder Boy' was given a chance to debut in ONE against Mark Abelardo during the early days of the pandemic. It was an opportunity he grasped with both hands.
After submitting the Filipino in impressive fashion on his first outing for ONE, 'Wonder Boy' followed it up with a unanimous decision victory against his first ranked opponent, Shoko Sato. On the back of his dominant showing against Li, Andrade has enjoyed a meteoric rise from relative obscurity to being a serious contender for the title.
Fabricio Andrade picks John Lineker to beat Bibiano Fernandes
Andrade is seven years younger than Lineker. He professes to being a fan of his countryman when he was growing up and is keen to test his skills against the UFC veteran. Meanwhile, in terms of predictions: Andrade is picking the younger fighter to get the job done against Fernandes.
"I personally think, for the situation right now, Bibiano is 42 - he hasn't fought for two years and John Lineker is younger," said Andrade. "He's active, he's fighting, he's got three wins, he's confident. And he's not a good match-up for Bibiano because he's really short so he's not an easy guy to take down. I think he's the hardest opponent Bibiano might have faced until now, so I will pick Lineker for that fight," continued Andrade.
With Lineker and Fernandes set to go toe-to-toe at ONE: X in the coming months and Andrade likely to face Loman for a No.1 contender fight; the ONE bantamweight division is poised for a truly fascinating year.