Their back-and-forth verbal brawls have given millions of fans a glimpse of what to expect when these two Brazilian bantamweight stars lock horns at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Fernandes is set on defending his world title for a record-breaking 12th time. Meanwhile, top-ranked challenger John Lineker hopes to leave the Circle with the divisional gold.
In a recent interview with SCMP MMA’s Nick Atkin, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong offered his view on Friday's epic main event battle.
Sityodtong had this to say on the pair’s rivalry:
“There is real bad blood and that is why we named it Bad Blood. It's not an act. It's not a drama. They have been texting each other, ‘Meet me on the street in Brazil, let's forget ONE, let's fight for real.’ It's gotten very personal and yeah, this is like, they genuinely hate each other and want to finish each other.”
He couldn't pick a clear winner between the pair but recognized Fernandes’ go-to method would be his ruthless work on the canvas, while John Lineker’s best chance at a win would be by knocking out the 41-year-old world champion.
“I think if it goes to the ground, I think Bibi has a chance to finish it. But at the same time, Lineker has a chance to finish it if he clips Bibi's chin. I mean, Bibi is obviously very tough, but Lineker... man, I don't think you get the moniker ‘Hands of Stone’ for no reason, right?”
Catch the full interview below:
Chatri Sityodtong likens John Lineker’s style and flair to Mike Tyson's
As a lifelong martial artist, Sityodtong knows there is a thin line separating both men from a huge win this Friday. However, he had further comments regarding John Lineker’s ruthless boxing and punching power.
According to Sityodtong, the volume of John Lineker's strikes and the way he tags opponents are quite similar to ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ Mike Tyson.
“John is one of these guys that's wild. It almost reminds me of, like [Mike] Tyson in his heydays, in his prime. The thing about Tyson that was scary was he would throw punches in bunches but everything had that ill-intent and he wasn't afraid to throw, you know? A lot of athletes might have the KO power, but are very measured and reserved and wait for the right opportunity to throw it. Then you got crazy guys like Lineker who just goes all out. He's not afraid of getting knocked out and he just goes all out. It's definitely going to be a very exciting match.”
Tune into ONE: Bad Blood this Friday to watch the grudge match unfold.